[GRASS5] Grass Projection Parameters

Jeshua Lacock jeshua at SierraMaps.com
Mon Feb 18 19:20:20 EST 2002

On Monday, February 18, 2002, at 06:45 AM, Bernhard Reiter wrote:

From: Bernhard Reiter <bernhard at intevation.de>
Date: Mon Feb 18, 2002  06:45:33 AM US/Pacific
To: grass5 list <grass5 at grass.itc.it>
Subject: Re: [GRASS5] Grass Projection Parameters

On Sun, Feb 17, 2002 at 07:29:33PM +0000, Glynn Clements wrote:
Radim Blazek wrote:
We are developing a product called MacGrass that is based on Grass as a
powerful engine and MacGrass as an elegant front end while also adding
capabilities, features and ease of use.

Just out of curiosity:

What programming facilities are you using?
Is there any schedule for the release of the source code?

We are developing the software using Apple's Project Builder in Cocoa
(objective-c based), as a commercial, closed-source project.

We might have to check that what you do is not voilating GRASS' license.

I am sure that it is within the context of the GPL.

I personally have mixed feelings about the open-source versus closed
source issue. Although we will not contribute code to the Grass
community in this instance, we will continue (and hopefully increase)
monetary donations to the Grass project.

I am not a proponent of proprietory frontends to GRASS.
It will not only be a disadvantage to the whole GRASS user
community, but will also be suboptimal for your product and users.

Well, all I can say is there is definitely a demand for an elegant easy 
to use interface. Most Macintosh users are VERY intimidated by Grass and 
as such will NEVER use it without s slick front-end like we are 

I really do not see how this could be bad for the entire Grass community.

What you are doing is exactly what is not allowed. I consider
your work to be "work based on the Program"

I wouldn't consider a front-end to be a "work based on the program",
assuming that it is just spawning commands via system() or similar.
Nor, AFAICT from reading the GPL FAQ, does the FSF.

If a program which executes another is a derivative of that program,
then there are a lot of unlicensed derivatives around.

It depends.
This probably is a hard question to answer.
Without checking the details I cannot tell in this case.
I won't be able to check the details for a couple of days.

But there is a good chance that it is not allowed to develop
propietory front ends for GRASS.


|     Mere aggregation of two programs means putting them side by side
| on the same CD-ROM or hard disk. We use this term in the case where
| they are separate programs, not parts of a single program. In this
| case, if one of the programs is covered by the GPL, it has no effect
| on the other program.
|     Combining two modules means connecting them together so that
| they form a single larger program. If either part is covered by the
| GPL, the whole combination must also be released under the GPL--if
| you can't, or won't, do that, you may not combine them.
|     What constitutes combining two parts into one program? This is a
| legal question, which ultimately judges will decide. We believe that
| a proper criterion depends both on the mechanism of communication
| (exec, pipes, rpc, function calls within a shared address space,
| etc.) and the semantics of the communication (what kinds of
| information are interchanged).

Our front-end only sets system environment variables and executes 
binaries. It does not modify or use any Grass code internally.

Further, I do not plan to put the two products on a single disk.  There 
really is not doubt that what we are doing is completely legal under the 
GPL and FSF.

Look at what Mac OS X itself is. It is a GUI for controlling 
(opensource) binaries through an elegant user interface. So by your 
logic, Apple is violating the GPL because they have a front-end to stop 
and start apache for example.

Please note that there is also commerical Free Software.
High quality software done by professionals for money,
but still granting all necessary freedoms.

The Macintosh community is not used to free software. They are used to 
paying for quality software on a CD in a box with manuals and support 
that they can purchase from a store.

Best regards,

Jeshua Lacock __________________________
Programmer/Owner            Phone:   760.935.4736
http://OpenOSX.com           Fax:        760.935.4845

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