[Debian-med-packaging] Licensing question about Insight Toolkit ( VXL / toms / ACM and non-commercial license conflict with BSD license).

Luis Ibanez luis.ibanez at kitware.com
Fri Jan 29 17:32:15 UTC 2010

The offending code of the "toms" library has now been
removed from the version of VXL that is distributed with
the Insight Toolkit (ITK):


The code in question was not used by ITK itself.

Our Dashboard builds,
after the removal are still green:


The upcoming release of ITK 3.18 will represent this change.

We should pursue an effort for creating a "purified" netlib web
site where only code with clear licensing statements is hosted.

In the meantime, we should certainly ban the use of code taken
from netlib.

Please do not hesitate to let us know if you find any other
piece of code whose license is incompatible with ITK's license.

    Many Thanks


On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 10:24 AM, Luis Ibanez <luis.ibanez at kitware.com> wrote:
> Hi Oliver,
>         Thanks a lot for pointing this out.
> As maintainers of the Insight Toolkit, we were not
> aware of the licensing status of the "toms" library.
> We appreciate very much that you have brought
> this to our attention.
> The "toms" library is carried by the VXL library, that
> in turns, is used by ITK for supporting numerics
> operations (i.e. linear algebra, solvers, optimizers...).
> As you correctly pointed out, a non-commercial
> license is incompatible with the BSD license used
> by ITK.  Therefore we will be removing the toms
> library from the copy of VXL carried by ITK.
> We will do this in the following hours / days.
> Certainly, it will be removed
> before we cut the release of ITK 3.18.
> Please let us know if you are aware of any other
> piece of code that has licensing conflicts. We will
> be glad to address those conflicts immediately.
> -----
> <rant>
> It is not the first time that we have issues with
> code that was taken from www.netlib.org.
> This web site may have serve a purpose at some
> time, but it doesn't fit anymore the practices of
> modern open source communities.
> The site lead users to think that it is a repository
> of Free and Open Source code, while in practice
> it is a disparate collection of software, with few or
> no information about copyright and licensing.
> I think that the large open Source community should
> *ban* this site due to its outdated practices and
> ambiguous (and finally deceptive) presentation.
> </rant>
>     Regards,
>          Luis
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> Hello,
> I'm contacting the Debian-Med Packaging Team because I would to ask a
> question about the licence of a routine used in the insighttoolkit.
> I'm not a user of insighttookit and have no personal interest in that
> package, but I'm actually trying to package another software named
> eispice (http://www.thedigitalmachine.net/eispice.html) which uses the
> same particular routine.
> So I hope you can help me on that subject.
> Insighttoolkit incorporates third party libraries taken from the "ACM
> Collected Algorithms"
> http://www.netlib.org/toms/
> My question is about one file in particular:
> insighttoolkit-3.16.0/Utilities/vxl/v3p/netlib/toms/rpoly.f
> The copyright notice as shown on http://www.netlib.org/toms/ indicates:
> "Use of ACM Algorithms is subject to the ACM Software Copyright and
> License Agreement"
> which is futher explained on:
> http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/softwarecrnotice/
> From what I understand, this licence grants the right to execute,
> copy, modify and distribute the code and the binary only for
> non-commercial use. But for commercial use, you have to get the
> authorisation from the authors.
> Considering this situation, I would like to know how you solved this
> licence issue concerning insighttoolkit, so that I can benefit from
> your experience.
> Kind Regards
> Olivier Robert

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