[osgeo4w-dev] Click through proprietary licensing

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Thu Nov 11 22:18:26 EST 2010


We have come to the conclusion that we can't really distribute the OCI
(oracle client interface) libraries as an OSGeo4W package without forcing
people to agree to a click through license first.

Howard and I were discussing the possibility of implementing a mechanism
in the OSGeo4W package manager to present custom license text for a package
and force the user to decide if they are willing to comply with it before
a package is installed.

There are some technical challenges to making this work, but I'm really
writing today to ask this community how it feels about inclusion of
proprietary software in OSGeo4W and putting click-through licenses in front
of people.

I personally have a few concerns.

1) It pisses me off to feel I'm having to bend over backwards to help
proprietary software vendors assert their rights over OSGeo4W users.

2) We really ought to become more aware of the implications of mixing
proprietary software and GPLed software in OSGeo4W.  For instance, it is
not legal for us to distribute proprietary software that would be used
by a GPLed package like GRASS.  In fact we are likely already in violation
of this when GRASS uses the MrSID driver (though Lizardtech bent over
backwards to make sure we didn't have to put our users through a click
through license for it).

On the other hand, OSGeo has taken the position of building bridges between
proprietary and free software.  In particular of being supportive of things
like being able to use MapServer against proprietary databases, supporting
proprietary file formats and such.  So I don't feel that including such
bridges in our distributed packages is unreasonable.

Also, I am keen to provide the best user experience I reasonably can for
OSGeo4W users and being able to include some proprietary components could
certainly go a long way to making that work (ie. ECW SDK, OCI, ...)

So, anyone else have a strong opinion on the matter?

Best regards,
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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