[SciPy-user] Enthon for the Mac

John Hunter jdhunter at ace.bsd.uchicago.edu
Tue Nov 23 22:47:56 CST 2004

>>>>> "Robert" == Robert Kern <rkern at ucsd.edu> writes:

    Robert> The patent license isn't just needed for implementing
    Robert> marching cubes in a program that you sell. It's also
    Robert> needed for applying the algorithm for commercial
    Robert> purposes. If I use VTK(+Patented) to make pretty pictures
    Robert> in the course of my job, I need to pay for a patent
    Robert> license. Research in an academic or governmental context
    Robert> may or may not be considered commercial. In the absence of
    Robert> a clear license for non-commercial and research use, I'm
    Robert> not tempted to guess their intentions.

I'm not a lawyer (my wife is, does that count?), but I did read the
 VTK README regarding patents before posting.  It says

  VTK has a generous open-source copyright modelled after the BSD
  license. Yes, you can use VTK in commercial products. The only
  caveat is that if you use any classes (there are a small number) in
  the VTK/Patented directory in commercial application, you will want
  to contact the patent holder (listed in the class header) for a
  license. The complete text of the copyright follows.

To me the key phrase is using classes "in commercial application".  I
read (past tense) "application" to mean a computer program that you
sell to people, eg, MS Word.  I (now) see there is an alternative
meaning of "commercial application", the generic one, "the ability to
use learned material in new and concrete situations".

Do you agree that the reading of this license hinges on how you
interpret the phrase "commercial application"?  If you read it in the
sense of a program you want to sell, an "application" in geek
parlance, it is fairly permissive in a commercial environment.  If you
read it in the non-geek sense of using learned material in a new and
concrete situation, it is fairly restrictive.

Goddam lawyers (wife excluded...).


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