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Re: [vorlon@netexpress.net: Re: Bug#181969: [mdadams@ece.uvic.ca: Re: JasPer licensing wrt Debian Linux]]

On Fri, Jan 02, 2004 at 11:42:09AM -0800, Michael Adams wrote:
> JasPer.  The problem with the GPL is that many commercial organizations
> will not use GPL'd software.  For this reason, the GPL was not chosen
> for JasPer.

What about the LGPL?  GPL-like, GPL-compatible, but not as "viral" as the GPL.

> Placing the above patent issues aside for the moment, I am still having
> some difficulties understanding why the compliance clause prevents you
> from using JasPer.  Can anyone give me an actual example of a project that
> would like to use the JasPer JPEG-2000 codec in a non-interoperable

I can't give you an "actual example", and that'll probably cause you to
disregard my statements.  However, perhaps one day I might look at the Jasper
code and see a chunk of numeric code that would be perfect for, say, some
speech coding work I'm doing.  That particular bit of code is large enough to
be copyrightable, and has no patents attached to it, but *your* *licence*
prohibits me from using it in another free software project.  Even worse, I
may have a separate patent grant for all of the patents I'll be using, and I
could use arbitrarily large hunks of the codec implementation in an unrelated
field, but I can't because of your software.

> way?  If not, then why is the compliance restriction an issue IN PRACTICE?

Because we can't predict all the possible uses of software before they appear,
so we need to err on the side of freedom in any software licence.

> Is there a problem with the wording of the clause that makes it more
> burdensome than intended?  If so, there is a better chance that I would
> be able to convince the other JasPer Contributors to correct such
> an ambiguity (than removing the clause altogether).

The best I can think of is a note stating that any use of the codec which does
not comply with the standard may not be represented as being associated with
Jasper (not wishstanding earlier clauses about copyright credits) or as
claiming compliance with the JPEG-2000 standard.  Any actual usage restriction
of the code as a result of use in an unrelated field will fail to meet the
DFSG standards.  Sorry.

> Although I may not have explictly mentioned this before, please keep in
> mind that the JasPer JPEG-2000 codec was developed in order to promote
> the use of the JPEG-2000 standard.  It is clearly in the interest of
> the success of the standard to discourage the creation of
> non-interoperable (i.e., non-compliant) implementations.  This purpose
> is also served by the compliance clause in the JasPer license.

That's serving *your* purposes, we're looking out for the interests of the
free software community as a whole.  Please keep that in mind.

I think the suggestion you were given earlier is a good one - note that using
code in a non-compliant implementation will probably fall foul of a couple of
dozen patents, and leave it at that.  If your licence restricts what people can
do with your code simply because of how their using it, the licence cannot be
DFSG free.

- Matt

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