[SciPy-user] Enthon for the Mac

Robert Kern rkern at ucsd.edu
Tue Nov 23 16:54:19 CST 2004

Fernando Perez wrote:
> Robert Kern schrieb:
>> I will not be turning Patented on. I posted instructions on how to 
>> build VTK on the Mac to the PythonMac list. It's very straightforward 
>> and hassle-free. I will point out the limitation, and include 
>> instructions on how to build VTK with Patented for those individuals 
>> who know they can legally use it.
> I understand the reasons for this, and it's definitely not a good idea 
> for enthought to distribute a full enthon with patented stuff in.  But 
> would it be possible to put a download link, besides enthon(with 
> patented=off) to a single vtk(patented=on) package?  I ask this simply 
> thinking of the "if it takes more than 3 minutes and 2 clicks I won't 
> install it" problem we've discussed before.
> This would allow users who know they are OK with patented stuff to 
> simply grab both packages and then overwrite the default VTK with 
> VTK_patented after installing Enthon.

I'm definitely thinking that individual packages will be available to 
install semi-independently of everything else. The issue with VTK 
Patented is whether or not to provide an alternate VTK Patented package.

> There are two possible issues with this:
> 1. it may be too much additional work for you.
> 2. it may still be a source of legal concerns.  I would imagine that 
> since you'd only be distributing a compiled package, with a clear 
> disclaimer that its _usage_ must be done only with knowledge of the 
> patent issues, it might be OK.  But in the land of 
> competition-by-lawyers, one can never know...

I think that if someone won't install VTK Patented because "it takes 
more than 3 minutes and 2 clicks", they don't need VTK Patented or won't 
take the time to decide whether or not they have the right to use it.

If they had a license statement for non-commercial users (and hopefully 
some statement about whether or not academic or governmental research 
counts as non-commercial application) that I could have users read 
before installing, I'd be more amenable to including a VTK Patented 
package. Unfortunately, the only statements they have are like the 

   """Application of this software for commercial purposes requires
      a license grant from GE."""

My concern is not that myself or Enthought will be sued for 
*distributing* VTK Patented; that's covered by copyright law, and the 
copyright license permits redistribution.

I'm much more concerned about people developing applications that depend 
on the patented algorithms when they really shouldn't have without a 
license. (Note: I don't really have any moral indignation about the 
issue, I'm just not personally interested in enabling people to be 
careless about IP.)

> Anyway, this is just an idea.  Ultimately if either of the above is a 
> sticking point, your solution of documenting the build process is a very 
> reasonable fallback.
> And for the record, I'm glad to see Enthon becoming available for both 
> Win and OSX, I think it will be a major accessibility gain!

Robert Kern
rkern at ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
  Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
   -- Richard Harter

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