[Gdal-dev] OpenEV licence

Simon Perkins s.perkins at lanl.gov
Wed Feb 5 16:25:22 EST 2003

On Wed, 2003-02-05 at 12:08, Andrey Kiselev wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 05, 2003 at 05:36:35AM -0800, Ayman Kamal wrote:
> > I found at http://remotesensing.org/gdal/faq.html
> > that GDAL is free, does the same apply to OpenEV?
> GDAL distributed under X/MIT license, OpenEV comes with GPL.
> You can do what you want with GDAL except removing copyright messages
> from sources, OpenEV usage is more restricted: you can't use sources in
> closed non-free projects.

I thought OpenEV was LGPL'd?

See e.g.:


The LGPL means you can use it in proprietary software, surely?




Personally I think the LGPL is fantastic for encouraging people to
contribute to standard re-usable software components like GDAL and
OpenEV, and making those components a standard.

Say that I am in a commercial company and I would like to incorporate
GDAL in my code, but it lacks some feature I need (like a driver for
some format). It makes sense for me to develop and contribute that
driver to the open source since that's the only way it will get
incorporated into future developments of the component. There's no
advantage to me "stealing" GDAL and keeping my driver to myself since
then I won't benefit from others' future work on the component. At the
same time my company doesn't need to buy into the "thou shalt not sell
software" philosophy required by the GPL. Other people get my driver,
the component becomes more useful and gets incorporated into even more
software, and attracts more developers. Everyone wins.

In contrast, the GPL puts severe restrictions on possible business
models that are not easily accepted by many commercial companies and
even semi-commercial entities like the national lab I work for. In doing
so, it can act as a barrier to potential contributors and restrict the
use and growth of the component.

Some counter-arguments (and counter-counter-arguments):

- Richard Stallman and others argue that libraries should use the GPL
to force more people to make their _application_ software free (due to
the infectious nature of the GPL). See
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-not-lgpl.html for details. The cost
is that many commercial programmers / potential contributors are turned

- There is also an argument I've heard that developers won't want to
contribute to an LGPL project when others might "steal" their efforts,
but that seems to be more of an argument against open source than
against LGPL.

I'm not opposed to the GPL in all cases, but I don't really like it for
libraries and reusable components.


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