[Proj] libproj4 license and related hassles
Gerald I. Evenden
geraldi.evenden at gmail.com
Thu Nov 13 13:16:15 EST 2008
When I first changed over to the libproj4 system it was recommend by I forget
whom that a license be put on the software. Following this recommendation I
chose the most liberal license I could find which was the the so-called MIT
or X11 license plus a copyright statement. The later to mainly protect
against someone else trying to copyright the material and potentially
removing it from the public domain.
Everything went fine and nobody complained until I used the GNU library GSL
and a seemingly disasterous situation occured: the GPL. I pointed out that
GSL usage was only for one rarely used projection and the GSL linkage to the
library could easily be edited out with switches in the Makefile.
Again, cries of dismay occured when I used the GSL in solving the inverse
projection problem. Again, my usage of the library was based upon using
better material than I could code up without a great deal of effort and time.
Why reinvent the wheel? And, again switches were installed to allow easy
elimination of having to use GSL and suffer the horrible restrictions of GPL.
But in this case, such action causes losses that are a bit more significant
than that of not using a rare projection.
The GPL dilemma will arise again as I embark on building a better proj/lproj
mouse trap but in this case software requiring GPL licensed material is a
critical element of the program and cannot be simply edited out.
My last comment relates to my pausing on the Wikipedia page related to the MIT
license ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_license ) and the comment in the
second paragraph stating thst the MIT license is "GPL-compatible." Not being
a lawyer I am note sure that I understand all of the ramification but I am
going to stop worrying about future encounters with GPL and consider any
problems between libproj4 and GPL non-existant.
The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due
to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.
-- Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) British psychologist
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