[GRASS-PSC] grass code making its way into gdal (+relicense)

Hamish hamish_b at yahoo.com
Mon May 4 01:24:12 EDT 2009


Frank wrote:
> If the GPL/GRASS derived portions cannot be rewritten we will have to
> remove them or the whole utility.

It is pretty clear that the core methods of gdaldem were directly derived
from a GPL work. As luck would have it (I'm guessing, but it's highly
likely) that the GPL work in question was itself derived from a public domain work, so there is a good chance that we have a fairly clean way out
of this. It is my hope that we will be able to find old CERL/GRASS public
domain versions to go back to which contain the bulk of the code so we can
confirm that and gdaldem doesn't have to be removed or relicensed as GPL.
But nobody has gone back to do that yet. An audit would have to be done
between that original CERL code, the modern GRASS code, and gdaldem to be
sure that no GPL additions are included. As gdaldem (seems) based on GPL
grass that means following each CVS/SVN log 1999-2006, which luckily we
still have. Confirming that some bits of it were in the public domain does
not confirm that other bits of it are not.

If anything was found we'd have to sort that out, either by permission or
by rewrite. We'd have to supervise that to some extent, but the onus is
really on the new coder to prove that they have committed clean code.

> I appreciate your bringing this to our attention (indirectly).

my intention had been to discuss it amongst ourselves here and more fully
do our homework on it so to present something robust to gdal from the
offset, rather to immediately yell "gpl violation!" and run in circles
waving arms about, which helps nobody. so the gdal bug is filed a little
sooner than I planned, but I guess that's not a bad thing either as I
would not like to see GDAL 1.7.0 published in the mean time without this
being known.

I'd still like a discussion to take place among the GRASS devels as
I think it's healthy and reassuring to put forward a consensus view.



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