[Qgis-developer] EXTERNAL: Re: QGIS SZIP.DLL Licensing?
Moriarty, Mark F
mark.f.moriarty at lmco.com
Mon Feb 3 11:22:17 PST 2014
Szip is not released under GPL, has patents, is restricted licensing. It isn't a classic FOSS package. Here's the license related to Szip use with HDF:
The SZIP Science Data Lossless Compression Program is Copyright (C) 2001 Science
& Technology Corporation @ UNM. All rights released. Copyright (C) 2003 Lowell
H. Miles and Jack A. Venbrux. Licensed to ICs, LLC, for distribution by the
University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications as a
part of the HDF data storage and retrieval file format and software library
products package. All rights reserved. Do not modify or use for other
SZIP implements an extended Rice adaptive lossless compression algorithm
for sample data. The primary algorithm was developed by R. F. Rice at
Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
SZIP embodies certain inventions patented by the National Aeronautics &
Space Administration. United States Patent Nos. 5,448,642, 5,687,255,
and 5,822,457 have been licensed to ICs, LLC, for distribution with the
HDF data storage and retrieval file format and software library products.
All rights reserved.
Revocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive sublicense to use SZIP decompression
software routines and underlying patents is hereby granted by ICs, LLC, to
all users of and in conjunction with HDF data storage and retrieval file
format and software library products.
Revocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive sublicense to use SZIP compression
software routines and underlying patents for non-commercial, scientific use
only is hereby granted by ICs, LLC, to users of and in conjunction with HDF
data storage and retrieval file format and software library products.
For commercial use license to SZIP compression software routines and underlying
patents please contact ICs, LLC, at:
Joseph J. Feeley, Ph.D., P.E.
Chief Executive Officer
PO Box 2236
McCall, ID 83638
Phone: (208) 315-0029
Email: Joe.Feeley at frontiernet.net
I can't legally use QGIS with SZip, unless there's some kind of license to permit szip.dll distribution with QGIS. For instance, HDF has permission for anyone, including commercial users (like me, as I work for a company, though we don't directly use QGIS to generate $), to use szip decode functionality.
Possible ways out:
1) Obtain permission from Joe.Feeley to distribute szip with qgis, same terms as HDF - okay for everyone to use to decode, but commercial users (like me) aren't permitted to use its encode functionality. That's fine, I can't make new SZip zipfiles, but can get the unpack of them.
2) Modify QGIS to not require szip. Make it an add-on applet, a plug-in, rather than something absolutely mandatory. Right now, qgis closes at startup if it doesn't see a working szip.dll.
3) A variant of (2), provide a dummy szip.dll, a "fake", so qgis is happy.
4) Another variant of (2), preferable to me, switch to permit use of some other, open distribution, zip, like 7zip. You would lose the SZip Rice lossless functionality, but for a lot of basic bulk unpacking 7zip is fine.
From: Etienne Tourigny [mailto:etourigny.dev at gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2014 2:00 PM
To: Moriarty, Mark F
Subject: EXTERNAL: Re: [Qgis-developer] QGIS SZIP.DLL Licensing?
What is the problem with distributing the szip.dll ? There is no agreement between qgis (or gdal) with szip/hdf group.
My understanding of the info in this page http://www.hdfgroup.org/doc_resource/SZIP/ is:
- In no circumstances a user can create hdf5 files with szip encoding within qgis. So far, only gtiff files are created within qgis.
- you are correct in stating that commercial products can use szip for decoding only, so it is OK for qgis to distribute the szip library.
- as qgis is not a commercial product and does not allow to create szip-encoded hdf5 files, there is no need for any commercial licence.
- if someone were to write software, based on qgis (and gdal), which sould create an szip-encoded hdf5 file, that entity would require a commercial licence
There is no GPL szip library, AFAIK.
On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM, Moriarty, Mark F <mark.f.moriarty at lmco.com<mailto:mark.f.moriarty at lmco.com>> wrote:
Does QGIS have any license agreement related to SZIP use?
I'd like to use QGIS on a project, but we're stuck on whether/how the szip.dll is licensed for use.
For example HDF specifically has a license page asserting permission to use szip in their distribution, so long as it is used within the context of their overall app. For a commercial firm, the permission is just to decode, not to encode, but that is fine.
I tried just deleting/renaming the szip.dll, since we do not actually need the functionality for our use, but it appears to be tightly bound to the build - qgis errors-out if it does not detect a proper, functioning, szip.dll on startup.
If there isn't a license statement from the intellectual property owner allowing its use/distribution to decode with qgis, is it possible to include a user-controllable switch to allow not including it, or to perhaps include a true GPL zip package, albeit losing the lossless functionality?
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