[SciPy-user] licence: GNU or not GNU for new image analysis platform

Prabhu Ramachandran prabhu_r at users.sf.net
Fri Sep 16 23:08:51 CDT 2005

>>>>> "Sebastian" == Sebastian Haase <haase at msg.ucsf.edu> writes:

    Sebastian> Prabhu, I noticed that you changed MayaVi's license
    Sebastian> from GPL to BSD. Why did you think this was needed ?

That was a long time ago.  Here are some messages from the
mayavi-users m/l regarding the change.

Initial thoughts:

After more thought:

The clincher (links to a detailed essay on GPL vs. BSD):

My original reason for using GPL was to ensure that devious commercial
interests did not abuse MayaVi's freedom.  My reasons were that this
might be the best for the community.  However, I was proved wrong by
companies like Enthought and Kitware who believe in OSS and release
code as BSD.  They have helped MayaVi enormously.  To the point that
the *entire* TVTK and MayaVi2 effort is funded and supported by
Enthought!  If not for Kitware's VTK, MayaVi would not exist.

The main reasons are:

 1. If someone decides to be nasty and illegally "steals" from a GPL
    project, the only thing you have is the ability to sue the
    person/company.  Do you have the time for that, or do you really
    care?  Unless you are a company, not a chance.  I think we have
    much better things to do.  So, if someone did steal, there is
    little you can do, so why not just make it free?

 2. When you write BSD software you allow companies to get involved in
    your project without being worried about hassles with licensing.
    This makes it easy for them to get involved.  Once they are
    involved, it is usually much easier for them to support the
    project rather than fork the code (as has been eloquently
    explained by others).  Net result is that everyone gains.  Unless
    you write software for money and not the community, you usually
    are happy if a company tells you "hey your code is cool, we used
    it in this product".

Finally, all this applies to software that is of utility to the
scientific community.  It may or may not apply to all software.
Ultimately, you have to decide and see how comfortable you are with
it.  All I can say is that I am very happy with my decision to switch
MayaVi from GPL to BSD.

    Sebastian> I have developed (rather: put together) a platform for
    Sebastian> (interactive) multidimensional image analysis and
    Sebastian> algorithm development. It's a graphical shell window
    Sebastian> based on wxPython's PyShell where I added a nice, fast
    Sebastian> OpenGL-based 2d image viewer. But the main aspect of
    Sebastian> all this was that it comes pre-compiled and ready to
    Sebastian> use ! (Including numarray, wxPython ... for Linux or
    Sebastian> Windows or Mac-OSX)

Very cool!  If you have the chance do take a look at Enthought's
Envisage application framework.  If you will be there at SciPy06, you
could probably see it in action.

Good luck!


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