[GRASS5] Grass Projection Parameters

Jeshua Lacock jeshua at SierraMaps.com
Mon Feb 18 19:52:01 EST 2002

(I'm re-sending this because the quoting format got lost last message)

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

> 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.
> Check:
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation
> |     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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