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Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL
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Dave (from the UK)
science forum addict


Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:18 pm    Post subject: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

I have very good reason to believe the scientific calculator for
PocketPC called 'HiCalc'

http://www.ppclink.com/?ppclink=product&do=view&id=44

is in breach of the GNU General Public License.

Here's a screen shot showing the fact the software uses the GNU
scientific library (GSL).

http://www.drkirkby.co.uk/gpl-violation.JPG

Now the GSL is released under the GNU General Public license as is
cleared stated at:

http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl/#licensing

Hence HiCalc must be released under the GPL too. Yet it would appear
HiCalc is closed source. There is no option to download the source code
from the HiCalc web site and they charge a registration fee to use the
calculator after the evaluation period. This is clear from this screen shot.

http://www.drkirkby.co.uk/violation-gpl.JPG

Comments?
--
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

http://witm.sourceforge.net/ (Web based Mathematica front end)
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Chance Hopkins
science forum beginner


Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Quote:
Comments?

Just download this freeone:

http://home.comcast.net/~jonsachs/#Eval%201.0

btw, only posted to MS group. I've been kicked off usenet three times now.
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Dave (from the UK)
science forum addict


Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Chance Hopkins wrote:
Quote:
Comments?


Just download this freeone:

http://home.comcast.net/~jonsachs/#Eval%201.0

btw, only posted to MS group. I've been kicked off usenet three times now.



Thanks. Potentially HiCalc is more functional as it does some stats,
graphs, has constants built in, and solves cubic simultaneous equations.
It also has some junk functions like one to calculate how much a group
of people pay tip on a bill if the bill is X and the percentage of the
tip is Y. I sure don't need a special function to do that!!

But either way it seems this is a breach and hence they should release
the source code. Whether anyone uses it is another matter. But there is
a principal at stake on this.


There was a case in Europe of a company failing to honor the GPL.

http://news.zdnet.com/5208-9595-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=16905&start=87

they lost in a German court.

I think gsl is a GNU project (not just under the GPL) and so GNU would I
suspect be interested.

One wonders how many other programs have GPL'ed code inside them. For
the most part nobody would ever know.
--
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

http://witm.sourceforge.net/ (Web based Mathematica front end)
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Dave (from the UK)
science forum addict


Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Tony A. wrote:

Quote:
The fact that their own software reports that is uses the GSL, which
they could easily omit if they wanted to hide the fact, indicates that
the authors may not be aware of the licensing implications,

Agreed. It will be interesting to see what they do though. Will they
release the source effectively meaning they will not be able to make
money from registrations? (OF course, that assumes someone will take the
trouble to create a binary without the checks in place).

Or will they continue to take money and breach the GPL?

I watch with interest.

Quote:
or there's
some exception.

Can there be? All the GSL is released under the GPL, so I don't think
they can use part of it in any other way.

Quote:
Send a mail to the authors

I did that.

Quote:
and the GSL maintainers,

I did that too.

Quote:
and leave it to them to sort out.

--
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

http://witm.sourceforge.net/ (Web based Mathematica front end)
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Axel Vogt
science forum addict


Joined: 03 May 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

"Dave (from the UK)" wrote:
Quote:

I have very good reason to believe the scientific calculator for
PocketPC called 'HiCalc'

http://www.ppclink.com/?ppclink=product&do=view&id=44

is in breach of the GNU General Public License.

Here's a screen shot showing the fact the software uses the GNU
scientific library (GSL).

http://www.drkirkby.co.uk/gpl-violation.JPG

Now the GSL is released under the GNU General Public license as is
cleared stated at:

http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl/#licensing

Hence HiCalc must be released under the GPL too. Yet it would appear
HiCalc is closed source. There is no option to download the source code
from the HiCalc web site and they charge a registration fee to use the
calculator after the evaluation period. This is clear from this screen shot.

http://www.drkirkby.co.uk/violation-gpl.JPG

Comments?

A question to understand some part of the licence problem:

If I write a program that uses GSL (or other software under
that licence) by calling it through the GSL runtime library
(say: its DLLs under Windows or similar), so the source code
is not used:

Do I have to publish the (whole) new code or not?

Even it is a bit off topic for that NG I would hear some
answers

--
"please use mail at ... instead of test3 at ... to send me a mail"
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Dave (from the UK)
science forum addict


Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Axel Vogt wrote:

Quote:
A question to understand some part of the licence problem:

If I write a program that uses GSL (or other software under
that licence) by calling it through the GSL runtime library
(say: its DLLs under Windows or similar), so the source code
is not used:

Do I have to publish the (whole) new code or not?

Even it is a bit off topic for that NG I would hear some
answers

--
"please use mail at ... instead of test3 at ... to send me a mail"

Yes you must release the source. That is why the GNU Lesser General
Public License

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html

was created. It allows you to create a library and allow others to link
their closed source software into. The GNU multi-precision library uses
that license which allows Mathematica to use the library.

But the GNU Scientific library is not released under the GNU Lesser
General Public License (LGPL) but instead under the GNU General Public
License (GPL).



--
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

http://witm.sourceforge.net/ (Web based Mathematica front end)
Back to top
Axel Vogt
science forum addict


Joined: 03 May 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

"Dave (from the UK)" wrote:
Quote:

Axel Vogt wrote:

A question to understand some part of the licence problem:

If I write a program that uses GSL (or other software under
that licence) by calling it through the GSL runtime library
(say: its DLLs under Windows or similar), so the source code
is not used:

Do I have to publish the (whole) new code or not?

Even it is a bit off topic for that NG I would hear some
answers

--
"please use mail at ... instead of test3 at ... to send me a mail"

Yes you must release the source. That is why the GNU Lesser General
Public License

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html

was created. It allows you to create a library and allow others to link
their closed source software into. The GNU multi-precision library uses
that license which allows Mathematica to use the library.

But the GNU Scientific library is not released under the GNU Lesser
General Public License (LGPL) but instead under the GNU General Public
License (GPL).


For non-English non-Laywers the licence text is a bit heavy.

Using it - even through a program - is not linking (and I
have to use some operating system to use any part of GSL,
but my Windows will never be published I suppose).

At least I read:

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of
running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

If I do not copy, distribute or modify then the licence does
not apply - and running is not restricted. So far I think I
can do whatever I want.

But the test following then does contradicts the text before.

I simply do not understand which part has to be applied (and
a clause like "it depends" does not clear it ...).

Is there a definite place to look for answers to such questions?
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Chip Eastham
science forum Guru


Joined: 01 May 2005
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Axel Vogt wrote:
Quote:
"Dave (from the UK)" wrote:

Axel Vogt wrote:

A question to understand some part of the licence problem:

If I write a program that uses GSL (or other software under
that licence) by calling it through the GSL runtime library
(say: its DLLs under Windows or similar), so the source code
is not used:

Do I have to publish the (whole) new code or not?

Even it is a bit off topic for that NG I would hear some
answers

--
"please use mail at ... instead of test3 at ... to send me a mail"

Yes you must release the source. That is why the GNU Lesser General
Public License

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html

was created. It allows you to create a library and allow others to link
their closed source software into. The GNU multi-precision library uses
that license which allows Mathematica to use the library.

But the GNU Scientific library is not released under the GNU Lesser
General Public License (LGPL) but instead under the GNU General Public
License (GPL).


For non-English non-Laywers the licence text is a bit heavy.

Using it - even through a program - is not linking (and I
have to use some operating system to use any part of GSL,
but my Windows will never be published I suppose).

At least I read:

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of
running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

If I do not copy, distribute or modify then the licence does
not apply - and running is not restricted. So far I think I
can do whatever I want.

But the test following then does contradicts the text before.

I simply do not understand which part has to be applied (and
a clause like "it depends" does not clear it ...).

Is there a definite place to look for answers to such questions?

Yes, there is a definitive place to look and that is the text
of the GPL. Perhaps these examples will help.

Scenario 1: PPCLINK Software distributes (by download) an
application (HiCalc). The application as downloaded includes
the GNU Scientific Library in binary form, which is licensed
under the GPL. The GPL terms allow PPCLINK Software to
do this but only if they abide by the terms of the GPL, and
these terms are to make the source code available to users
of the (bundled) software by reasonable means and at a
reasonable cost related to the cost of distribution. They
must provide users of the program a notification of their
right to receive the source code and instructions for how
to get it if not already provided with the binary download.
If PPCLINK Software does not agree to the terms of GPL
license for GNU Scientific Library, then their distribution
of it must stop.

Scenario 2: Microsoft distributes (by retail and OEM
installation) an operating system (Windows). Chip runs
a GPL'd program (Octave) under Windows. Microsoft
does not distribute the two programs together and is
not bound by Chip's use of both programs to license
Windows under the GPL.

There is more information and the text of the GPL in
various formats here:

http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html

regards, chip
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Chip Eastham
science forum Guru


Joined: 01 May 2005
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Dave (from the UK) wrote:
Quote:
I have very good reason to believe the scientific calculator for
PocketPC called 'HiCalc'

http://www.ppclink.com/?ppclink=product&do=view&id=44

is in breach of the GNU General Public License.

Here's a screen shot showing the fact the software uses the GNU
scientific library (GSL).

http://www.drkirkby.co.uk/gpl-violation.JPG

Now the GSL is released under the GNU General Public license as is
cleared stated at:

http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl/#licensing

Hence HiCalc must be released under the GPL too. Yet it would appear
HiCalc is closed source. There is no option to download the source code
from the HiCalc web site and they charge a registration fee to use the
calculator after the evaluation period. This is clear from this screen shot.

http://www.drkirkby.co.uk/violation-gpl.JPG

Comments?
--
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

http://witm.sourceforge.net/ (Web based Mathematica front end)

Just a comment, I don't suspect this is a disagreement, but may
but useful to other readers' understanding.

While it would appear to be a GPL violation not to provide source
code for users of the HiCalc program if it is licenses under GPL
(and given your facts, there would seem to be no alternative to
doing so), PPCLINK Software can charge a registration fee for
the application binary itself without violating the terms of GPL.

Quote:
From what I've read and heard, most GPL violations are resolved
without judicial intervention. Often a company is simply unaware

of the terms of the GPL or confused about their obligations under
it, and once properly informed they either stop distributing or
comply with the terms. A specific Web site for an organization
that deals with these "enforcement" issues is here:

http://gpl-violations.org/


regards, chip
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Chance Hopkins
science forum beginner


Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:00 am    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Quote:
Just a comment, I don't suspect this is a disagreement, but may
but useful to other readers' understanding.

Great posts. Thanks.
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Dave (from the UK)
science forum addict


Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Chip Eastham wrote:

Quote:
Just a comment, I don't suspect this is a disagreement, but may
but useful to other readers' understanding.

While it would appear to be a GPL violation not to provide source
code for users of the HiCalc program if it is licenses under GPL
(and given your facts, there would seem to be no alternative to
doing so), PPCLINK Software can charge a registration fee for
the application binary itself without violating the terms of GPL.

I have pointed that out to them.

They have actually responded now on the gsl-help mailing list. It is
clear they were not aware of their obligations since the binary makes is
clear they are using the GNU Scientific Llibrary. They have not tried to
hide that fact.

Quote:
From what I've read and heard, most GPL violations are resolved
without judicial intervention. Often a company is simply unaware
of the terms of the GPL or confused about their obligations under
it, and once properly informed they either stop distributing or
comply with the terms.

I don't think "stop distributing" is an option. The fact is the
copyright infringement has already occurred and must be corrected.

Quote:
A specific Web site for an organization
that deals with these "enforcement" issues is here:

http://gpl-violations.org/

I tried emailing them about the breach but the mail bounced. I'll try
again.
--
Dave K MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

http://witm.sourceforge.net/ (Web based Mathematica front end)
Back to top
Chip Eastham
science forum Guru


Joined: 01 May 2005
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Dave (from the UK) wrote:
Quote:
Chip Eastham wrote:

Just a comment, I don't suspect this is a disagreement, but may
but useful to other readers' understanding.

While it would appear to be a GPL violation not to provide source
code for users of the HiCalc program if it is licenses under GPL
(and given your facts, there would seem to be no alternative to
doing so), PPCLINK Software can charge a registration fee for
the application binary itself without violating the terms of GPL.

I have pointed that out to them.

They have actually responded now on the gsl-help mailing list. It is
clear they were not aware of their obligations since the binary makes is
clear they are using the GNU Scientific Llibrary. They have not tried to
hide that fact.

From what I've read and heard, most GPL violations are resolved
without judicial intervention. Often a company is simply unaware
of the terms of the GPL or confused about their obligations under
it, and once properly informed they either stop distributing or
comply with the terms.

I don't think "stop distributing" is an option. The fact is the
copyright infringement has already occurred and must be corrected.

A specific Web site for an organization
that deals with these "enforcement" issues is here:

http://gpl-violations.org/

Dave "from the UK" wrote:

Quote:
I tried emailing them about the breach but the mail bounced. I'll try
again.

Well, the copyright holders for GSL are the Free
Software Foundation (FSF), and given that you've
posted something on the gsl-help mailing list, I
think you've done your duty.

It will be up to PPCLINK Software and the FSF to
work out arrangements for "curing" the license breach.

This is almost never pursued in a punitive spirit, as
often seems the case with "closed source" licenses.

regards, chip
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Axel Vogt
science forum addict


Joined: 03 May 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Scientific calculator - clear breach of GPL Reply with quote

Chip Eastham wrote:
Quote:

Axel Vogt wrote:
"Dave (from the UK)" wrote:

Axel Vogt wrote:

A question to understand some part of the licence problem:

If I write a program that uses GSL (or other software under
that licence) by calling it through the GSL runtime library
(say: its DLLs under Windows or similar), so the source code
is not used:

Do I have to publish the (whole) new code or not?

Even it is a bit off topic for that NG I would hear some
answers

--
"please use mail at ... instead of test3 at ... to send me a mail"

Yes you must release the source. That is why the GNU Lesser General
Public License

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html

was created. It allows you to create a library and allow others to link
their closed source software into. The GNU multi-precision library uses
that license which allows Mathematica to use the library.

But the GNU Scientific library is not released under the GNU Lesser
General Public License (LGPL) but instead under the GNU General Public
License (GPL).


For non-English non-Laywers the licence text is a bit heavy.

Using it - even through a program - is not linking (and I
have to use some operating system to use any part of GSL,
but my Windows will never be published I suppose).

At least I read:

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of
running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

If I do not copy, distribute or modify then the licence does
not apply - and running is not restricted. So far I think I
can do whatever I want.

But the test following then does contradicts the text before.

I simply do not understand which part has to be applied (and
a clause like "it depends" does not clear it ...).

Is there a definite place to look for answers to such questions?

Yes, there is a definitive place to look and that is the text
of the GPL. Perhaps these examples will help.

Scenario 1: PPCLINK Software distributes (by download) an
application (HiCalc). The application as downloaded includes
the GNU Scientific Library in binary form, which is licensed
under the GPL. The GPL terms allow PPCLINK Software to
do this but only if they abide by the terms of the GPL, and
these terms are to make the source code available to users
of the (bundled) software by reasonable means and at a
reasonable cost related to the cost of distribution. They
must provide users of the program a notification of their
right to receive the source code and instructions for how
to get it if not already provided with the binary download.
If PPCLINK Software does not agree to the terms of GPL
license for GNU Scientific Library, then their distribution
of it must stop.

Scenario 2: Microsoft distributes (by retail and OEM
installation) an operating system (Windows). Chip runs
a GPL'd program (Octave) under Windows. Microsoft
does not distribute the two programs together and is
not bound by Chip's use of both programs to license
Windows under the GPL.

There is more information and the text of the GPL in
various formats here:

http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html

regards, chip

Thx for explaining! In that terms I would re-formulate:

Scenario 3: Program SuperMega with a DLL interface and
un-bundled with GSL. SuperMega gives aspecification for
the DLL interface, which is satisfied by gsl.dll, but
leaves it to the user to do so. Or without being to much
artificials just says: "user, you need GSL installed and
it sufficient to place gsl.dll in the system directory,
our program calls it from there (if you wish blablabla)".
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