[gdal-dev] Click through proprietary licensing
warmerdam at pobox.com
Thu Nov 11 22:25:41 EST 2010
I accidentally send this originally to gdal-dev instead of the
OSGeo4W list. I'd like to move the discussion to the OSGeo4W
list. I'm just cc:ing gdal-dev for notice.
Even Rouault wrote:
> Le jeudi 11 novembre 2010 19:55:27, Frank Warmerdam a écrit :
> Yes, this is a tricky situation.
> In fact, the potential legal infringement doesn't come necessary only from the
> side of the proprietary software. Even if you satisfy the licencing terms of
> the former, the copyright holders of the GPL software could argue that the GPL
> licence doesn't apply in that context.
Yes, this is the primary issue I was concerned when I mentioned GRASS.
> The issue is not using GPL and proprietary stuff, but distributing the
> aggregation of the two. Whether the fact of distributing a GPL program
> (QGIS/GRASS/...) that uses a X/MIT library (GDAL/OGR) that has a X/MIT plugin
> (OCI driver, ECW driver, MRSID driver) that links to a proprietary plugin (OCI
> library, ECW library, MRSID library, ...) is illegal or not is probably in the
> gray area of the GPL ( there is always debate on how linking and GPL work :
Honestly, if everything is installed as part of OSGeo4W it does not seem
like a gray area to me. It seems to be a clear violation of the GPL.
If the end user later adds a proprietary plugin of their own accord
then we are at least in a gray area or even in the clear. But it isn't
my wish to try and subvert the GPL.
> 4) And the last sentence of clause 2 of GPLv2 could perhaps apply to OSGeo4W
> situation : "In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the
> Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of
> a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope
> of this License. ".
Certainly I don't see a problem installing GDAL+proprietary plugins
and some GPL'ed software that doesn't actually link to GDAL. In this
case we only have aggregation.
> So we could probably say that those proprietary plugins are out of the scope
> of the GPL licence, but I'm not 100% this is a valid interpretation...
> Of course, there are some possible ways to solve this without ambiguity :
> a) either those proprietary stuff are licenced under a GPL compatible open-
> source licence... (well one can dream...)
> b) or the copyright holders of those GPL software agree to provide a special
> exception clause to the GPL to allow it to be combined with proprietary
> software. Not necessarily easy in the presence of multiple copyright holders.
One approach I have contemplated is having driver register some metadata
about their licensing class. In this way a GPLed application could choose
not to register proprietary drivers and/or proprietary applications could
choose not to register GPLed (broadly reciprocally licensed) drivers.
I set the clouds in motion - turn up | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush | Geospatial Programmer for Rent
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