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

Wang Mengqiang WangMengqiang at canon-ib.com.cn
Fri Jun 6 09:22:36 UTC 2008

Theodore Kilgore,

Thank you for your ardent reply. 

 I feel your earnest expectation to improve the communication with hardware manufacture. But, very sorry, I am afraid I have no ability to take this responsibility.

Thank you sharing the possible reasons on the block of  communication. Whatever, please don't consume too much time to annoy yourself. The communication and cooperation must base on the common interest ,or benefit especially for commerce. So, I think, the major factor is whether the hardware manufacturer's has the relative strategy and whether manufaturer will obtain, but not lost  the benefit. You know, company has to keep careful to business secret against competitor, and risk of patent or license. IMHO, a developer can be proud that he is able to learn more knowledge by interrup, inverse programming,  but  as a company it has to consider whether it is proper or legal.  

In fact, I understand and respect the spirit of open and free in open source world. I feel it will be very important and meaningful if open source and commerce(non open source) software can benefit each other in the cooperation. Maybe, it need understanding and some concede from both sides. it is necessary to avoid either absolute commerce or absolute free. That will benefit the end user finally.  

your politeness and enthusiasm impressed me deeply.  very glad to exchange personal opinion. 
Wang mengqiang

>;-----Original Message-----
>;From: kilgota at banach.math.auburn.edu 
>;[mailto:kilgota at banach.math.auburn.edu] 
>;Sent: Friday, June 06, 2008 9:00 AM
>;To: Alessandro Zummo
>;Cc: Wang Mengqiang; SPD-GW; sane-devel at lists.alioth.debian.org
>;Subject: Re: [sane-devel] Please give me some help to solve 
>;the license issues in using sane
>;Wang Mengqiang,
>;I am not one of the regular SANE developers, but I am quite 
>;active in another, similar project, Gphoto, which supports 
>;digital still cameras. I find this thread interesting because 
>;it raises issues which affect us all. 
>;I hope very much that the SANE developers will not mind if I 
>;join this discussion.
>;Wang (or should I address you by Mengqiang; please excuse my 
>;ignorance of your national customs), thank you very much for 
>;bringing these questions to us.
>;Why do I say this in spite of the fact that some of the 
>;answers you got seem to be somewhat negative? The reason I 
>;say this is that any kind of communication at all with 
>;hardware manufacturers is practically impossible for us to 
>;carry out. It seems that there is an extreme cultural divide 
>;and lack of understanding. Far more typical it is that we, 
>;free software developers, send letters or e-mails and we get 
>;totally ignored. Just as a recent example, three days ago, I 
>;sent to a company in Taiwan a very polite request for 
>;information about a certain camera chip. It was not the first 
>;time that I tried to write to them. This request, just like 
>;all previous ones, has obviously been simply ignored. I know 
>;for a fact, too, that the SANE project has similar 
>;difficulties of communication as we do. 
>;I would like to take this seeming opportunity to ask you why 
>;such communication problems exist. Why is the most usual 
>;response to any such request from any of us simply to ignore 
>;the request and not even to acknowledge that the request has 
>;been received?
>;I can imagine several reasons behind this lack of two-way 
>;communication. I do not know which, if any, of the following 
>;apply, or whether the problem is something else. Please help 
>;me understand:
>;1. Somehow we do not know how to address our letters 
>;properly, or how to ask in a manner which is perceived as 
>;polite. Some of us may be guilty of that. In my case, at 
>;least, and in the case of most individuals who have some 
>;cross-cultural knowledge, we do not knowingly do that.
>;2. Somehow it is perceived that we are in competition with 
>;the company. If this is the situation, then I do not 
>;understand. We are not in the business of making hardware, 
>;whether processor chips, scanners, or cameras. We do not 
>;intend to enter such business and thereby to rob the sons and 
>;daughters of other countries of the ability to earn a decent 
>;living. We are interested in making the hardware work, 
>;possibly to work better, and to write good support software 
>;for it. We would be even happier to do this in active 
>;cooperation with hardware manufacturers, believe me, and it 
>;also appears to me that they would thereby sell more hardware.
>;3. Perhaps the manufacturer perceives that cooperation with 
>;us would impair the relationships with the other companies 
>;which write the software drivers for the hardware. If so, I 
>;do not completely understand this, either. Our software is 
>;not intended to run on Microsoft Windows, the dominant 
>;operating system. Rather, it is intended to work on operating 
>;systems for which the hardware makers are typically not 
>;providing software drivers, at all. Thus, I fail to 
>;understand how we are competition for the software houses 
>;which write the drivers and interface programs for the hardware.
>;4. It may be perceived that there are secrets in the 
>;functioning of the hardware, and to have open interface 
>;programs for said hardware would release the secrets into the 
>;wild. I believe that this is a false conclusion. For, if the 
>;hardware functions well and is appropriately priced it will 
>;have a ready market whether there is an open-sourced driver 
>;for it or not. In that case, the users of systems such as 
>;Linux, whose numbers seem to increase, are happier with 
>;manufacturers whose hardware can be supported and are more 
>;willing to spend their money for that hardware. Also most 
>;people are in fact not curious about the inner workings of 
>;things and it would do no harm to any manufacturer with that 
>;great majority even if the information were shouted from the 
>;5. Perhaps it is believed that we want to see the source code 
>;of the Windows support software, and that cannot be given out 
>;because it belongs to some third party. Well, that would be 
>;one way to give us the information. But it would also be 
>;quite sufficient if we were given adequate detailed, 
>;descriptive information. We after all are in the business of 
>;writing source code and do not need to copy into Linux some 
>;source code which was written for Windows. Quite to the 
>;contrary, the only things we would be interested in are the 
>;basics of the interaction with the hardware, any data 
>;compression algorithms used for imaging data, and such as 
>;that. We do not even particularly want to know how things get 
>;done in Microsoft Windows. Most of us do not want to use that 
>;operating system.
>;Finally, please also remember that in computer hardware there 
>;are ultimately no secrets. Someone who is determined will 
>;discover all of those secrets in any event, sooner or later, 
>;as Alessandro Zummo describes below. For example, in my own 
>;case it would take one week of time or less to support 
>;everything about a digital camera, and to write a well 
>;functioning Linux driver for it, with the sole exception of 
>;the support for a proprietary compression algorithm, if one 
>;is in use. Note that everything else can easily be learned, 
>;simply by running the camera and performing logs of the USB 
>;traffic, which is very easy to do and very easy to interpret 
>;if one is experienced. I could add to this that there are 
>;lots of determined people who are willing to work on such 
>;things as compression algorithms, and as time passes and as 
>;they gain more experience at the work they become better at it.
>;Please also understand that the developers of the Linux 
>;operating system and the related application software and 
>;hardware support are proud people, as you are proud. We 
>;believe in what we are doing. We think it is right. Some of 
>;us do this kind of work as part of our jobs, and we are paid 
>;for that. Some of us have jobs which are completely 
>;unrelated, but are involved because we believe in what we are 
>;doing. We are a community, an international community, which 
>;exists because we believe in doing things a certain way and 
>;we also find intellectual stimulation from solving difficult 
>;problems. And, finally, there are more people at this point 
>;who actively do free software development than those who 
>;program for Microsoft. We can probably bring more resources 
>;to bear on any unsolved problem, because those resources are 
>;usually not measured in money. We believe that we produce a 
>;product which is superior to the commercial operating systems 
>;on the market.
>;I have tried very hard to understand what motivates the 
>;people with whom so far I have a one-way correspondence. I 
>;wish that they would take as much trouble to understand me, 
>;and to understand the community of Linux developers. One of 
>;the good places they could start would be to read the 
>;licenses under which our software is published and really to 
>;try to understand what those licenses mean.
>;I hope very much that you can help in this endeavor to 
>;improve communication. I also take it as a sign of hope for 
>;better times to come, that you have written to ask your 
>;questions from this list. Even if there is disagreement and 
>;misunderstanding -- and it seems that there is -- great hope 
>;is possible if there is at least open communication.
>;Please let me thank you again for directing your questions to 
>;this list. I really mean that, so it is not possible to say 
>;those words too many times. 
>;Also thank you even more if you are such a person, or if you 
>;know such persons, who can help to overcome the fundamental 
>;gap in communication which is the topic of my letter.
>;Theodore Kilgore
>;On Thu, 5 Jun 2008, Alessandro Zummo wrote:
>;> On Thu, 5 Jun 2008 13:02:08 +0800
>;> "Wang Mengqiang" <WangMengqiang at canon-ib.com.cn> wrote:
>;>> Thank you for your reply and truth.
>;>> From your reply, it seems there is no way to use other 
>;modules, for example, if we buy some modules from other 
>;company without source code, how to deal with it?  Would you 
>;please give me some suggestion for commerce development like this?
>;>>  I agree to your opinion that we should not violate the 
>;spirit of freedom through the middle-ware layer. Our idea is 
>;to open as much as we can (  not to open all), but not to 
>;close as much as possible.
>;> You might choice to buy the source code from the other 
>;company or to 
>;> develop equivalent code yourself.
>;> You can also ask open source developers to help. I'm sure that if 
>;> documentation is given, you will find people who are 
>;willing to help.
>;> If documentation is not given, you will probably find someone that 
>;> will reverse engineer the protocol, sooner or later :)
>;> --
>;> Best regards,
>;> Alessandro Zummo,
>;>  Tower Technologies - Torino, Italy
>;>  http://www.towertech.it
>;> --
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>;> http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/sane-devel
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