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

kilgota at banach.math.auburn.edu kilgota at banach.math.auburn.edu
Fri Jun 6 14:39:30 UTC 2008

On Fri, 6 Jun 2008, Wang Mengqiang wrote:

> 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

Thank you very much for the reply. I am aware that there are issues and 
problems, and I totally agree that there needs to be dialog. The 
difficulty is, as I see it, there has been no dialog. Communication needs 
to take place in both directions and it does not. These are the facts as I 
have experienced them. I mean, if a company would at least reply and say 
that "We cannot release any information about X, because of the following 
issues" then that would be a reply, would it not? And then perhaps there 
would be something to talk about. But in my experience there is not even a 
reply. We all have our sensitivities. I mentioned politeness. If one sends 
to someone a request for information, which seems not unreasonable to the 
sender, and the request is not even dignified with a response, then that 
does not seem very polite, either. I mention this while we are on the 
topic of possible cultural differences and sources of misunderstanding.

Now, as to the topic at hand, between your company and the SANE project, I 
am something of a bystander. I subscribe to this list because of general 
interest and because, years ago, I was given for Christmas a Canon N640U 
scanner which needed to be supported and Canon was either unwilling or 
unable to provide that support. However, as something of a bystander, I 
will make two observations:

1. I notice that several responses to you are asking that, just what part 
of the scanner's functioning is supposed to be a proprietary module and 
what part is intended to be supported code coming from SANE. That seems to 
me a reasonable request, and probably without an answer it is not possible 
to proceed.

2. Not all projects have precisely the same license. For example, some 
other large projects use the LGPL license, which can more easily permit 
linking of a proprietary executable program than the GPL can do. Thus, 
depending on the questions you ask and depending on what the answer to a 
question analogous to item 1 is, you might get a different response to a 
similar question from some other project using LGPL. I do not want you or 
anyone else who reads this to assume that I am recommending one of these 
licenses over the other in the context of this discussion, or for that 
matter outside of it. I merely mention that the terms and conditions of 
the two licenses are not identical.

Permit me to make a comparison in order to illustrate what you are dealing 
with, here. I do not know how it fits the history of some societies of 
eastern Asia, but in Europe and the Middle East there is a long history of 
craft guilds. You are not negotiating with individuals. You are 
negotiating with the guild. The guild has its collective interests. That 
is why it exists and continues to exist. The guild has its own property. 
That property is in the open, but it is licenced in such a way that it 
cannot easily be misappropriated. The guild will guard its property with 
at least equal zealousness to the companies which will not answer letters 
from the guild members. This is an apparently new phenomenon in the 
computer and software industry. Most of the big companies did not expect 
it. But it is here.

Theodore Kilgore

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