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

Olaf Meeuwissen olaf.meeuwissen at avasys.jp
Tue Jun 10 23:49:04 UTC 2008

Alessandro Zummo <azummo-lists at towertech.it> writes:

> On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 16:00:38 +0200 (CEST)
> Johannes Meixner <jsmeix at suse.de> wrote:
>> As far as I see, it seems to be allowed from the legal point
>> of view to have free software that uses non-free libraries
>> because they only say that the program won't be fully usable
>> or not usable at all in a free environment but they don't
>> say it violates the GPL.
>  correct.

No so.  As per my reply to Johannes' mail:

  This depends on the respective license conditions of the free and
  non-free parts.  If all of the conditions are not mutually exclusive,
  then there is no problem license wise.  If even only two of the
  conditions are mutually exclusive, you have a license violation on
  your hands.

  The above goes for any kind of combination where multiple licenses
  are involved, not just when combining with GPL'd software.

>> But what does "If it depends on a non-free library to run at all,
>> it cannot be part of a free operating system such as GNU" mean?
>> Is "cannot be part of GNU" meant as a license violation or
>> just that it cannot be included in a "free operating system"
>> simply because it is useless?
>  I think it mean it would be included in debian non-free rather 
>  than main, for example. or something like that.

Johannes was reading from the GPL FAQ, on gnu.org.  A free operating
system would be one that is free in terms of GNU philosophy.

I think the "cannot be part of a free operating system" bit should be
interpreted as "has no place in a free operating system".

> [snip]

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

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