PanoTools mailing list archive

Mailinglist:PanoTools NG
Date/Time: 5-Aug-2007 10:14:20 +0200
Subject:Panorama Tools License


The Panorama Tools library and PTViewer are published under 
the GNU license which states that any piece of software using 
it must also be published under this license. Apparently, 
several programmers violate this requirement. I personally 
have not checked this but I frequently get emails from 
users of such programs. What I personally often see when 
browsing the internet are rip-offs of PTViewer which can 
be easily identified.

I encourage anyone who wishes to start a commercial 
project based on PanoTools, but this can and should be done
within the boundaries of the license, which btw is one of
the most generous licenses thinkable. Violating the
license is not just cheating me (which is no problem to
be discussed on this list), but it also endangers the
violators business: According to the license text any
software which is partially GNU-licensed is automatically 
fully GNU-licensed. The user can request all sources 
from the vendor. What if he assumes (as stated in the license), 
that he can legally make and distribute copies
of the software, ruining the violators business? 
The software vendor will have a hard time defending 
a copyright which he legally does not own.

Anyway, to solve this problem, and after some discussions 
at the IVRPA-conference in Berkeley, I am planning to change the
license for the PanoTools library (the files "pano12.lib" and 
"pano12.dll" apparently used by many programs) to the 
GNU-library license, which means that programmers can link 
to it without revealing  their own code. They still must 
make the library code (and all changes they made to it) accessible.
I am going to publish the license text at my website in the 
next weeks,and the change will be in effect from that day 
on (not retroactive).I will not change the PTViewer license.


Helmut Dersch

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