[GRASS5] Proprietory Frontend for Mac OS X (was: Grass Projection Parameters)

Jeshua Lacock jeshua at SierraMaps.com
Fri Feb 22 19:01:20 EST 2002

On Friday, February 22, 2002, at 07:34 AM, Bernhard Reiter wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 18, 2002 at 04:52:01PM -0800, Jeshua Lacock wrote:
>> On Monday, February 18, 2002, at 06:45 AM, Bernhard Reiter wrote:
>>> We might have to check that what you do is not voilating GRASS'
>>> license.
>> [moved up from below]
>> 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.
>> I am sure that it is within the context of the GPL.
> It might be legal,
> at least it is not entirely within the spirit of the GRASS community.
> I will consult more people on this.

Please see my comments below.

> Please make sure that it is cristal clear that GRASS comes with all
> that freedom and your frontend does not. This is important in any case.

There will be distinct wording that the underlying "GIS-Engine" is the 
Open-Source Grass Project, and MacGrass is our Proprietory  GUI.

>>> 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
>> developing.
> Agree, but that does not mean you have to develop it non-free.

I cannot get funding for the project and give the source code away. From 
an investment point of view - I agree.

>> I really do not see how this could be bad for the entire Grass
>> community.
> You are building your proprietory software on top of the functions
> of GRASS which has been build as Free Software. Thus you are selling
> a solution based on the ground work and do not share your work with
> us groundworkers back.

Please remember, that I spent months of my life porting Grass to Mac OS 
X. I publish the binaries for Mac OS X - for free and I will continue to 
do so.

Also remember that we donated money to the Grass project and we hope to 
be able to generate larger donations in the future with our MacGrass 
project. I want to be the number one fund contributor to Grass - is that 
a bad goal?  It is not source code, however money is what makes the 
world go around - unfortunately.

In the end, every one benefits. The Grass community thrives and reaches 
places it never has gone before.

>> 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.
> AFAIK Mac OS X does not only contain Free Software binaries,
> they rely a lot on bsd like unix based on a mach architecture.

I think an excellent example here is the Mac OS X Project Builder 
application.  It is a fancy GUI for developing projects - I love using 
it. It's back-end is the Gnu Compiler Compilation.  The GUI is Apple's 
proprietary front-end for gcc. The gcc is obviously distributed under 
the GPL.  Now, I ask is that GUI a "bad thing" for the gcc team?

Absolutely not, they should be delighted that their compiler now has a 
user share three times the size of Linux (roughly - in theory). And I 
would much rather use Apples Project Builder application then "vi" and 
"gcc" any day, and I am still using gcc - just behind the scenes. Hooray 
for Apple - Hooray for GCC!

I want to do the same thing Apple has done to a Operating System to a 
Geographical Information System. What is the difference? They are really 
identical in spirit and vision. Is Apple a "bad company"? If Apple can 
do it, why can't we?

My vision is simple: make Grass as intuitive and easy to use (for both 
novices and pros) as say Mac OS X or Adobe Photoshop.

>>> 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.
> But you can do this and let your frontend have all freedoms.
> It does not stand in contrast to Free Software.
> You also have the chance to educate them.
> 	Bernhard

The real problem here is that I cannot get a dime of capital to invest 
in an open-source project, its hard enough - keeping it proprietary.

Again, as I stated previously, I personally have mixed feelings about 
proprietary versus open-source. I love the Grass community, and I still 
very interested in contributing to it. In this case Money instead of 

Is the Grass project independently and well financed indefinitely? Or 
will the Grass team also welcome Money as it does source code? If you 
have enough capital, the Grass team can have (well) paid full time 
programmers, which of course plus coffee equals source code:

     $   =   : )   =    c++

Best regards,

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

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