[sane-devel] Mustek ScanExpress A3 USB 1200 PRO

m. allan noah kitno455 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 26 18:53:26 UTC 2010

> btw, isn't sane-backends licensed under GPL?  how can mustek provide a package without the source?

Clearly, a vendor can ship a clean-room proprietary sane backend, as
there are no restrictions on the implementation of the sane standard.

However, this particular case is more of a gray area:

1. Sane's libraries have an exception to the GPL which allows linking
with proprietary code, and is (IMHO) vaguely worded.

2. Mustek uses sanei_usb in their libaries. Under the 'GPL', they
would be required to provide source for those libs, but the exception
may allow that, depending on interpretation. (IMHO, it is still a
violation, because the .so is not 'executable')

3. They ship scanimage, sane-find-scanner, conf files etc, which are
covered only under the GPL, and do not provide source. This is a clear

4. The exception mentioned in #1 states: "This exception does not,
however, invalidate any other reasons why the executable file might be
covered by the GNU General Public License." There may yet be some
other reason why Mustek is in violation, perhaps the shipping of
proprietary and GPL code in the same media?

All-in-all, a beautiful example of why programmers should never write
legalese. :(

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

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