[FGS] FGS and MrSID support in GDAL

Daniel Morissette dmorissette at mapgears.com
Tue Mar 25 15:50:57 EDT 2008

Thanks Frank, Mike and Jeff for the very useful replies. Sounds like we 
need to do some work to (1) package the GDAL MrSid driver as a plugin in 
FGS and (2) handle the licensing requirements so we'll probably skip it 
for the current FGS release to avoid delaying it and will come back at 
this later.

Normand has created a bug in FGS' bugzilla with the info from this 
thread. Any additional info can be added there:


Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
> Daniel, et al:
> Thanks for asking...  A couple years ago we spent some effort to make
> sure that the MrSID SDK could be happily included in free/open packages
> where the maintainer wishes to do so.  As Frank says, the best approach
> for your users would be notify them by some mechanism that the package
> includes a non-FOSS component, and maybe giving them an option to choose
> it or not.  Some prefer to have 100% FOSS and some are okay with some
> non-free code in there.
> Of course you must include a copyright notice and a EULA, but for the
> purposes of distributing a tarball or whatever it is sufficient to just
> include the file in the kit.  See the file REDISTRIBUTABLE.txt which
> attempts to set these terms out in English; for the non-English version,
> see sections 1.2 and 2.1 of the license file.
> (LizardTech would very much like to open source our decode SDK, but
> 3rd-party legal issues have prevented us so far.  We are continuing to
> try to resolve this.)
> If you have any questions, just ask -- I'll try to be as accommodating
> as I can.
> -mpg (not a lawyer, but nonetheless speaking officially for LizardTech)
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Frank Warmerdam [mailto:warmerdam at pobox.com] 
>> Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 11:00 AM
>> To: Daniel Morissette
>> Cc: fgs-list; Michael P. Gerlek
>> Subject: Re: [FGS] FGS and MrSID support in GDAL
>> Daniel Morissette wrote:
>>> As we are working on a new release of FGS, one of the 
>> questions that 
>>> came up once again was whether we could include MrSID 
>> support in the 
>>> build that we distribute on the maptools.org site since the 
>> DSDK is not 
>>> free software as stated in the GDAL format docs at 
>>> http://gdal.org/frmt_mrsid.html
>>> Does someone familiar with the MrSID DSDK (FrankW?) know what our 
>>> options are to include (or not) MrSID in public FGS builds? 
>> I know this 
>>> is a FAQ, but if someone has an answer already that would 
>> save me some 
>>> research.
>> Daniel,
>> Redistribution of software based on the MrSID DSDK requires the person
>> installing the software to be presented with, and agree to 
>> some particular
>> information as I recall.  I'm not sure how this would be 
>> accomplished with
>> the FGS architecture.
>> Furthermore, as distinctly non-free software, it is incompatible to
>> distribute the MrSID SDK linked with GPL software.  So some care would
>> need to be taken to *not* also distribute stuff like the GRASS driver
>> for GDAL/OGR.  I believe it is also incompatible with the 
>> "gpl-like" ecw
>> license which would require that all other components of the software
>> (linked at least) be source-available.
>> My suggestion is to prepare an FGS MrSID plugin but do not manage
>> it through the normal FGS mechanisms.  Instead offer it off a web page
>> with the required legal notices.  Let the installer download and place
>> it in their FGS tree manually.  As long as we explain the issues, and
>> apply the appropriate notices on the web page I think it then becomes
>> the end users job to ensure they are complying with the appropriate
>> licenses.  For the most part (ie. GPL) an end user who does not
>> redistribute software is allowed to mix proprietary and GPL software
>> as they wish.  But we, as software providers, are not allowed 
>> to do this
>> for them.
>> I hope this is helpful.
>> In the case of OSGeo4W I'm hoping actually have an installer dialog
>> which explains these issues before letting them proceed with MrSID
>> driver installation.  But I'm not positive that even that would be
>> sufficient.  I'm also hopeful that mpg will assist us in ensuring
>> legitimate approaches (from the lizardtech requirements side of
>> things) for OSGeo4W and perhaps FGS.
>> 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    | President OSGeo, 
>> http://osgeo.org

Daniel Morissette

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