[sane-devel] Please give me some help to solve the license issues in using sane

m. allan noah kitno455 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 5 01:02:33 UTC 2008

On 6/4/08, Wang Mengqiang <WangMengqiang at canon-ib.com.cn> wrote:
> Hello, everyone,
>  My name is Wang mengqiang, I am expecting to get your help on development very much.
>  I am investigating to develop a commerce driver on linux.  I have studied the sane project for some time. And, we are planning to develop the driver on sane. But, I have some doubts on license of sane so, I'd like to get the answer from sane directly.

we are not lawyers, but we will try to help.

>  1) In the development, we plan to use several special modules  which do not contain any open source code from sane or other party, because they contain some tecnology that we do not want to open. So, that is, our backend is composed of two parts, one part is open source code which we refer to the source code from sane, and another part is one that should not be open. Of course, the first part(open source part) will call the functions in the second part(closed source part). After compiling and linking them together, we get the backend. My questions is whether we can keep the second part closed in this way,  whether this way comform to the license of sane(GPL)?  Please refer to the attached image for the architecture.

SANE is GPL, with an added exception to allow proprietary front-end
programs to link against it. What you are suggesting is the opposite-
you wish to have a free 'middleware' layer, which loads closed
backends to do that actual work? I think this is in violation of the
spirit of the license exception, though perhaps not the letter. Please
read the file LICENSE in the sane-backends source, it attempts to
clarify the situation, by specifically referring to the 'licensing
status of the _program_ that uses the libraries', not the status of a

Note also that your plan prevents those of us that use alternative
CPU's (PPC, ARM) from using your code, unless you are going to compile
it for us.

"The truth is an offense, but not a sin"

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