bundle with non-GPL software?

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bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby Vibrationz » 2014-10-24 11:29

Hi,

I am currently developping a software aimed at supporting teachers in schools BUT: our software is closed-source. Other vnc software like RealVNC and TightVNC offer commercial licenses for their programs but I could not find anything similar on the UltraVNC website...

The only thing I could find was "you only need to create a separate installer or make your installer download the UltraVNC setup"... SERIOUSLY?! :shock:

Does that really mean that our company could sell our software and still bundle it with UltraVNC although it is differently licensed?

Our software would install UltraVNC on every computer in the school, maybe distribute a special configuration for UltraVNC and it would have a button to let the teacher (or the pupil) start the UltraVNC viewer client with pre-defined parameters (such as IP adress, etc.)... no linking, just starting the .exe and maybe writing to .ini-Files...

Would that be possible? And all that really without commercial licensing?


Thanks in advance for you answer :thumbs:
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Re: bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby Rudi De Vos » 2014-10-25 10:30

GPL does not forbit commercial usage, it's a source protection.

In your case, you ditribute uvnc with your software.
you didn't changed ultravnc and when changed you also distribute the modified vnc sourcecode.
The interaction bewteen your progam and vnc is via commandlines and ini files, so both programs run independed and only interact
in a way you could manual interact with the software.

Yep, this follow GPL and no special license is needed.
You always can donate something if you realy want ...
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Re: bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby Vibrationz » 2014-10-26 05:52

Well, that's fantastic... i have already told my boss that there is no way to get such funcionalities for free so I think a donation should be not much of a problem...

Thank you very much for that information ;)
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Re: bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby Vibrationz » 2014-11-04 06:49

Hmm, sorry to bother you but I have another question... if we delivered our software together with Ultra VNC, shouldn't we then also advertise that?

From my point of view, we would in that case offer some functionality that someone else (you) has worked hard for and not making clear that this work is all yours doesn't feel correct... a small note that remote access is achieved with Ultra VNC is a must-have but wouldn't it be better to advertise your software together with your logo? Now, we are talking about using your logo (and a link to your website) in our non-GPL software... that's not allowed, is it? :what?:
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Re: bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby Rudi De Vos » 2014-11-04 10:11

We generate some income via advertising on our website, the more visitors the better for us.
Yep... that's allowed :)
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Re: bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby Vibrationz » 2014-11-10 07:54

Our first internal tests look really promising so I think we're gonna start delivering our software together with UltraVNC soon.

Here's how the option in our settings would look like:
Image

Because currently we do not offer additional languages, I can only show the German version: "Mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UltraVNC" means something like "with friendly permission of UltraVNC"... a click on the link or the image opens the browser and directly opens your website...

I hope that's ok for you? Or is there anything to be changed?
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Re: bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby Rudi De Vos » 2014-11-10 11:31

That's nice thanks... i understand German but's it a little harder to write.
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Re: bundle with non-GPL software?

Postby LRN » 2015-04-23 15:03

IANAL, but as far as i've read the meaning of "combined work" (which makes GPL apply to the whole work) is not restricted to linking binaries together. That is, if a GPL-covered program is, somehow, a component (even if it's launched in a separate process and intreaction is commandline and ini files) of your non-GPL-covered program, then it might still be considered a "combined work". Might be nothing though. If you have the resources, do consult a lawyer.

Here are some quotes from GPL FAQ:
Q: What is the difference between an “aggregate” and other kinds of “modified versions”? (#MereAggregation)

An “aggregate” consists of a number of separate programs, distributed together on the same CD-ROM or other media. The GPL permits you to create and distribute an aggregate, even when the licenses of the other software are non-free or GPL-incompatible. The only condition is that you cannot release the aggregate under a license that prohibits users from exercising rights that each program's individual license would grant them.

Where's the line between two separate programs, and one program with two parts? This is a legal question, which ultimately judges will decide. We believe that a proper criterion depends both on the mechanism of communication (exec, pipes, rpc, function calls within a shared address space, etc.) and the semantics of the communication (what kinds of information are interchanged).

If the modules are included in the same executable file, they are definitely combined in one program. If modules are designed to run linked together in a shared address space, that almost surely means combining them into one program.

By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication mechanisms normally used between two separate programs. So when they are used for communication, the modules normally are separate programs. But if the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex internal data structures, that too could be a basis to consider the two parts as combined into a larger program.

Q: I'd like to incorporate GPL-covered software in my proprietary system. Can I do this? (#GPLInProprietarySystem)

You cannot incorporate GPL-covered software in a proprietary system. The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. If you could incorporate GPL-covered software into a non-free system, it would have the effect of making the GPL-covered software non-free too.

A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended version of that program. The GPL says that any extended version of the program must be released under the GPL if it is released at all. This is for two reasons: to make sure that users who get the software get the freedom they should have, and to encourage people to give back improvements that they make.

However, in many cases you can distribute the GPL-covered software alongside your proprietary system. To do this validly, you must make sure that the free and non-free programs communicate at arms length, that they are not combined in a way that would make them effectively a single program.

The difference between this and “incorporating” the GPL-covered software is partly a matter of substance and partly form. The substantive part is this: if the two programs are combined so that they become effectively two parts of one program, then you can't treat them as two separate programs. So the GPL has to cover the whole thing.

If the two programs remain well separated, like the compiler and the kernel, or like an editor and a shell, then you can treat them as two separate programs—but you have to do it properly. The issue is simply one of form: how you describe what you are doing. Why do we care about this? Because we want to make sure the users clearly understand the free status of the GPL-covered software in the collection.

If people were to distribute GPL-covered software calling it “part of” a system that users know is partly proprietary, users might be uncertain of their rights regarding the GPL-covered software. But if they know that what they have received is a free program plus another program, side by side, their rights will be clear.
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