[sane-devel] SANE2, what do we want ?

Olaf Meeuwissen olaf.meeuwissen at avasys.jp
Wed Apr 2 06:49:03 UTC 2008

"m. allan noah" <kitno455 at gmail.com> writes:

> On 4/1/08, Olaf Meeuwissen <olaf.meeuwissen at avasys.jp> wrote:
>> Julien BLACHE <jb at jblache.org> writes:
>>  > Johannes Meixner <jsmeix at suse.de> wrote:
>> >> For example the epkowa driver from IScan is free software.
>>  >
>>  > No, epkowa is not free software. A large part of the scanners it
>>  > supports actually rely on proprietary, binary-only protocol
>>  > interpreters shipped as Linux/i386 shared libraries.
>> The epkowa backend is free-as-in-freedom software.  It is licensed
>>  under the terms of the GPL and carries an exception that allows for
>>  the use of non-free extensions.
> well, i just heard RMS speak again a few days ago, and i can tell you
> for sure that this exception means the backend is decidedly NOT
> free-as-in-freedom. we could take it up with him if you like...

If you want to interpret it like that fine, but all the SANE backends
that use the exception mechanism explained in the LICENSE file are per
same token decidedly NOT free-as-in-freedom.  That includes, at least,
the dll, net and epson backends as well as all the backends that you
contributed to.

FYI, the LICENSE file says:

    Backend libraries are protected by the GNU General Public License (see
    file COPYING), but as an exception, it is permissible to link against
    such a library without affecting the licensing status of the program
    that uses the libraries.  For details, see the copyright notice at the
    head of the backend files (e.g., backend/dll.c).

and it is this mechanism that the epkowa backend uses.  As a matter of
fact, the code interfacing between the free and non-free parts is even
stricter in that it only allows linking through a carefully defined

Moreover, the epkowa backend does not require the non-free extensions.

On a strictly personal note: I'd very much like to see those non-free
extensions to the epkowa backend become a thing of the past.

Hope this helps,
Olaf Meeuwissen                   FLOSS Engineer -- AVASYS Corporation
FSF Associate Member #1962           sign up at http://member.fsf.org/

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