[Freegis-list] Re: Clearing up the terralib/terraview discussion.

Gilberto Camara gilberto at dpi.inpe.br
Sat Nov 8 22:51:32 CET 2003

Dear Adrian and FreeGIS list members

I would like to thank Adrian and all other FreeGIS members
for constructive comments regarding the status of TerraLib
and TerraView. We have discussed the matter at INPE and
have decided upon the following policy:

(a) TerraLib will remain licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public
License (formely known as the GNU Library Public License).

(b) TerraView will be licensed under the GNU General Public License.

We have added a note to the TerraLib/TerraView website that
explicity indicates this policy. Those interested may look under

http://www.terralib.org/copyright.html (for TerraLib) and

http://www.terralib.org/applications.html (for TerraView).

We are in the process of including an explicit license notice
in all TerraLib and TerraView files.

I hope this serves as clarification of our license policies.

Best regards,
Gilberto Camara

Dr.Gilberto Camara            
Director for Earth Observation
National Institute for Space Research, Brazil (INPE)
voice: +55-12-3945-6499 
fax:   +55-12-3945-6460
home: www.dpi.inpe.br/gilberto

Adrian Custer wrote:

>Hey all,
>We are all suffering from a language gap and from the past discussions
>over this software. It seems to me that *everyone* means well. Everyone
>who is reading this please note that the software being distributed as
>TerraLib has changed since the eariler discussion and many of your
>earlier notions no longer apply. The current software is distributed as
>a single tarball with a note on the website that it is to be considered
>This is an effort to clear this up once and for all. Plese, let's work
>in as gentle a manner as possible. The group that created Terra*, and
>Dr. Camara in particular, include people we really want to encourage to
>participate in the FreeGIS effort. 
>First of all, Dr. Camara has repeatedly claimed and suggested that
>TerraView is also free software. We simply need to clear up why he
>thinks it is, and why others think its not and come to a resolution.
>Secondly, and from an outsider view, it looks like this group is moving
>in the right direction. The group worked on SPRING which looks like it
>must be a pretty cool piece of software. SPRING is not free, I suspect,
>by historical accident more than philosphical persuasion. It's free in
>free beer which, while a minor freedom in free software, shows that the
>intent was not far from true free software. Note that SPRING was
>released several years ago, long before, one suspects, the arguments for
>free software would actually register in an institution like Brazil's
>INPE. That Dr. Camara and his group have managed to move Terralib to the
>lgpl is a *huge* step.
>Could we in the FreeGIS community send an email to Dr. Camera and his
>group laying out what our reservations are?  Here is my example email,
>if suggestions could go to the list, I would appreciate it. Then perhaps
>one of the core FreeGIS'ers can actually send it on our behalf. I have
>cc'ed Dr. Camara to this email since I believe it will explain better
>what is going on. 
>Please, Dr. Camara note that others may want to add to this
>explaination; in the current state this is merely my understanding.
>Also, as an aside I am quite taken by you work on map algebras and hope
>to think more about them in the future.
>Dear TerraView team,
>Congratulations on releasing TerraLib as free software, and thanks for
>the great work. 
>We at the FreeGIS project ( http://www.freegis.org ) are still slightly
>confused by the license scheme of your software, partly because of how
>terraview interacts with the Qt library which has its own set of legal
>restrictions. If you would be willing to work with us to clear this up,
>we would appreciate your effort and we would then better be able to
>promote the part of your work that we truely felt was free software.
>I. Applying the LGPL:
>You clearly intend to release all of this software under the LGPL. You
>state on your web site, under "Downloads" "Copyright":
>"This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
>under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by
>the Free Software Foundation - version 2.1."
>While this should be sufficient to assume all your software is indeed
>released under the LGPL, simply making this assumption is not a smart
>legal strategy. To make things safer for everyone, the LGPL asks you to
>do several things if you want to use it. (Please see:
>http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html#SEC4  ). Specifically, the LGPL
>asks you to:
>1) start each file with a statement that it's LGPL.
>2) include the LGPL in your tarball. (At the bottom of the statement to
>be included in every file are the words: "You should have received a
>copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License along with this library".)
>Looking at a few of the files in your tarball, none of them start with
>the license statement, and your tarball as a whole does not contain the
>LGPL. It will require some simple but boring work to change this but
>it's actually important for various legal jurisdictions. For instance,
>one of us, Adrian Custer, could not safely use your work because he
>could not be sure that under california law he would be protected.
>Once you have taken these two steps, we would all consider your software
>*code* to be free and could use parts of it to develop other
>II. Conflicts with Qt:
>However, there is one additional problem which seems to several of us to
>prevent the compiled result of your code (that is the functional
>program) to be considered free. The problem is complicated but
>sufficiently important that it currently prevents us from contributing
>to and expanding on your work.
>This arises, not because of your efforts, but because of Trolltech's
>license and its interaction with your code. Trolltech gives you the
>right to use Qt as a free software library *only* if you release your
>software under the GPL (not the LGPL which you use). There would be
>several ways to resolve this problem but each solution requires work and
>you would have to decide what you intended to do.
>1) you could simply release all your software under the GPL instead of
>the LGPL. You would have to do steps (1) and (2) above using the GPL
>instead of the LGPL.
>2) you could split your software into two packages and relase TerraLib
>as LGPL software and TerraView (all the pieces that use Qt) as GPL
>software. Again you would have to do steps (1) and (2) above for each
>piece. To make sure there was no confusion, it would be best then to
>split the two projects.
>3) you could switch from the Qt library to another library, like GTK+,
>which is released under the LGPL and therefore does not lead to this
>( To the freegis group: ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS? )
>We realize that we are asking you to do a fair amount of work but
>believe that as a result of this work your software will become more
>useful to a larger audience. We are all comitted to helping each other
>build world class software for use in geographic information systems.
>Please realize that free software is sometimes legally complicated but
>that all projects must resolve these issues to be successful.
>Thanks again for your contributions and we look forward to hearing from
>you what you have chosen to do,
>The FreeGIS Collaboration including:
>Adrian Custer
>P.S. So this took longer than I had hoped. Free Software can be work!
>On the good side, I just got JUMP running correctly recently and am
>*very* excited about the next year in the Free GIS world. I will soon be
>able to teach GIS exclusively with free software and free data which is
>a HUGE step forward. 
>All the best,

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