On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 22:04:47 +0100, Jérôme Muffat-Méridol wrote:
I meant to stay away from this discussion, after all I haven't
contributed anything yet...
But from what I read, I think I'll stay away from this library. You guys
know your subject really well and this library is most probably the main
reference on the subject. So, it would seem like a logical package to
look at for any application that wants to do anything remotely related
I don't mean to scare anyone off, and I have only contributed a few minor
suggestions and a sprinkling of code to PanoTools, so obviously my
thoughts are my own. However, I think you'll find that the main
contributors are all decent people, who just want the license they
contribute under respected. It's as simple as the old school yard adage:
if you take, give back.
But then, if there is any chance that the software could make a penny,
then the use of your library might simply jeopardize the whole business.
This last comment about what constitutes a subterfuge and what doesn't
is very scary, I bet that if you pay your lawyer enough, then any use of
panotools (even through fork/exec) could be presented as a subterfuge
and the "offending" software would have to fall into open source.
Those are RMS's words, not mine, but they do point out that getting
around the license with technical arguments isn't productive. It's
not productive legally, but moreover it's not productive for the
I'm worried that such a lawyer might even sue people doing similar
features who would have learned the techniques from reading your code.
The only intent here is to respect the terms of the license, which
aren't that extreme. They don't, for instance, prohibit anyone from
making money off the library (nor should they, IMO). This is not some
vague and ominous "Intellectual Property" cloud such as the one iPix
had hanging over this field for years (and which no doubt someone else
will take up as soon as they buy the rights to that IP at the yard
sale). There is no patenting of software ideas, no control over how
you use the software, no "protection money" racket if you build it
using >180 deg images, etc. It's truly simple: if you want to use the
code to make your program, you must contribute your addition under the
same license, or follow the rule of using fork/exec to keep them
separate. That's really it.
Some people can afford to donate their time, some people can't. I would
have hoped that you guys would be able to find a less hardline position
where, for example, those who make money out of linking panotools might
contribute some $ to help run the initiative. After all, non-profit
doesn't mean no-income.
People who donate their time to GPL projects typically do it because of
the sense that they are contributing to a greater good, that their
contributions will remain open and free, and that others who add to
their improvements will donate those improvements back in kind.
There's nothing sinister about it. That's what motivates me in the
free software projects I contribute to.
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