[Freegis-list] open source SEG-Y viewer wanted
Mon, 29 Jan 2001 11:43:57 -0700 (MST)
>certainly your SU software shares the spirit of Free Software.
>And I am glad that you opened up your software widely by this extend
>and invite everybody to share the code.
Yeah. That's why it's called "Free Software". The package is available free
I would suggest that you actually read the LEGAL_STATEMENT of SU.
It does not prevent anyone from distributing SU for a fee. It merely
requires that they obtain written permission from our institution before doing so.
I mean, really, is it such a hardship to write a letter?
As a matter of explanation, I would point out that we have been distributing SU
to the geophysical community as Free Software, under more or less the present license
since about 1987. The first Internet release was in September 1992. Indeed, ours
was the first free software package explicitly written for exploration seismic processing
and research applications.
For a description of Free Software in the exploration seismic industry, I suggest
that you read:
Stockwell, Jr. J. W. (1999), The CWP/SU: Seismic Un*x Package,
Computers and Geosciences, May 1999.
Stockwell, Jr. J. W. (1997), Free Software in Education: A case
study of CWP/SU: Seismic Un*x, The Leading Edge, July 1997.
The primary issue is that the concept of Free Software is so foreign to the exploration
seismic community, and the desire for commercialization so strong, that we
need to be able wield a "bigger stick" to control the commercialization of the package.
As a secondary issue, SU is nothing like the other free software applications that you
distribute. SU is a full seismic processing, development, and research environment
which is best described as an 'instant research and processing environment.' This is
not throwaway software, but rather, this is a package which fills the niche that,
in major oil companies, is filled by in-house processing environments.
>The reason for allowing redistribution for money in Free Software
>criteria is that most repackagers or distributors do a good job.
>If the license of the Free Software has a strong protection of freedom
>(like the GPL), the vendor cannot disclose the freedom of the software
>from the customer.
>So the customer is informed about his rights on the software.
>Except for extrem cases were the customer is doing absolutly no checking
>of the software and alternatives, he is basically paying the value
>added by the distributor. Otherwise there is no reason to buy it
>from this one distributor. This fosters a competition between
>distributors to add value to Free Software which is good.
>A lot of them try to add printed documentation, select stable
>versions or build them for easier installation.
>And other distributors and the authors usually benefit from this.
>A second reason for a redistribution for all purposes without a
>permission is the guarrantied continuation of the free software
>development process. If I am on the other part of the world with no
>internet access and the author of the software is for what reason
>ever not reachable, this is not blocking me from fixing bugs and
>redistributing this for money. It happened quite a few times that
>copyright holders were not reachable and the software redistribution
A distributor who simply repackages free software and distributes it "as is" is
not "adding value" to the package. This is another reason for our particular license.
If you were to make an enhanced version of SU, you could sell that under our license,
provided that you were clear that you were doing something radically different,
and not just fixing a few bugs. You would not be selling the software "as is".
A case in point.
There is a company called "W_Geosoft" which distributes a graphical front end to a
Windows NT version of SU. They make the NT version of SU (called SUNT)
available free on their web site, but sell a CD containing SUNT, as well as
their graphical frontend to the package. Their distribution of our codes in this
fashion is commerical, and yet agrees with the terms of our license, because they
do not distribute SU "as is", and we did not require them to do anything,
except keep their SUNT version of available on the net for free.
They truly have "added value" to the package.
>These are two advantages that the SU community might want.
>Right now this restriction prevent SU from coming with Debian
>GNU/Linux distribution or RedHat distributions. Both groups have a
>high profile in adding towards the products they are distributing.
>SU might get even more known.
The only thing that might prevent a free software distributor from distributing SU
is their unwillingness to seek permission to include it in their distribution.
Your argument is specious. The RedHat and Debian distributions both contain
demo versions of commerical software packages. Indeed, both RedHat and Debian
actually supply _commercial_ packages such as Applixware in their pay distributions.
No doubt the licenses for distributing these packages are far more stringent than ours.
We have never solicited anyone to distribute our code, nor has any other
distributor offered to distribute our codes. Our market is far too specialized for us
to show up on their radar screens.
>(Disclosure: My company also does repackaging of Free Software,
>like the FreeGIS CD (which we sell for 25Euro).
>Right now we cannot distribute SU on it, because we want other
>distributors to be able to use our additions without asking.)
Well, we are talking about "Free Software" not "Free Lunch".
(Really, would it kill you to write a letter?)
John Stockwell | john@dix.Mines.EDU
Center for Wave Phenomena (The Home of Seismic Un*x)
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401 | http://www.cwp.mines.edu/cwpcodes
voice: (303) 273-3049
Our new book:
Norman Bleistein, Jack K. Cohen, John W. Stockwell Jr., ,
Mathematics of multidimensional seismic imaging, migration, and inversion,
(Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics, V. 13.), Springer-Verlag, New York.