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RE: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky

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  • Tim Long
    The Original poster implies that in order to USE an ASCOM driver, a program must comply with an open source license. That myth needs to be dispelled here and
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 1, 2005
      The Original poster implies that in order to USE an ASCOM driver, a program must comply with an open source license. That myth needs to be dispelled here and now. There is absolutely NO RESTRICTION on the USE of ASCOM drivers from any program. ASCOM is a free product with no restrictions on the use of its binaries.

      The source code is a different matter. There is no one license that applies to all of the source code that makes up the ASCOM platform. Many developers have contributed the various components and each developer has the freedom to use whatever license they see fit. Some of the components are public domain while others are not even open source, because of copyright restrictions placed on the code that _they_ use. So it is a matter of checking the licensing requirements of each component. What should be made perfectly clear is that the open source license does not place any restrictions at all on the use of the driver binaries at run time. Therefore, any program (commercial or otherwise) can safely make use of ASCOM drivers without fear of any licensing implications. It is good manners to credit the ASCOM initiative and (provided the logo requirements are met) display the ASCOM logo.


      Tim Long
      http://syd.tigranetworks.co.uk - software for amateur astronomers



      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Douglas B. George [mailto:dgeorge@...]
      > Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 2:35 AM
      > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky
      >
      >
      > Hi Matt,
      >
      > > Moreover, given
      > > the "viral nature" of open source code, I must stay clear. Open
      > > source licenses require any program that incorporates open
      > source code
      > > (like ASCOM drivers) must themselves be open source, as
      > well. I doubt
      > > I'll ever see the source code for ACP, MaxIm, etc, made publicly
      > > available (another open source requirement) so I'm rather confused
      > > ASCOM being "open source."
      >
      > That generalization certainly does not apply to all open
      > source software. You're referring to a "copyleft", whose
      > terms require you to disclose the source for all software
      > derived from it.
      >
      > > Under what open source license is ASCOM distributed?
      >
      > There isn't any specific requirement under the ASCOM
      > guidelines. In fact, it's perfectly reasonable for someone
      > to keep the source code private (as a few authors have done),
      > or sell ASCOM-compatible components. ASCOM defines the
      > interface, not the software.
      >
      > Most of the open source drivers in the ASCOM Platform say this:
      >
      > '---------------------------------------------------------------------
      > ' Copyright © 2000 ... xxxxxxxxxxxxx
      > '
      > ' Permission is hereby granted to use this Software for any
      > purpose ' including combining with commercial products,
      > creating derivative ' works, and redistribution of source or
      > binary code, without ' limitation or consideration. Any
      > redistributed copies of this ' Software must include the
      > above Copyright Notice.
      > '
      > ' THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS". xxxxxxxxxxxxxx MAKES NO
      > ' WARRANTIES REGARDING THIS SOFTWARE, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS
      > TO ITS ' SUITABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
      > '---------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > As you can see, it's obviously not a "copyleft".
      >
      > MaxIm DL is not open source. However, it has ASCOM
      > interfaces can communicate with other open-source software
      > components, like the ASCOM Dome Control Panel (which I wrote
      > and contributed as open source), with out any "viral" risks.
      > We do not happen to include any software derived from the
      > ASCOM Platform in MaxIm DL, but we could have done so without
      > any impact. One should always read any attached copyright
      > notices, of course.
      >
      > Still, you raise an issue we should probably discuss. I
      > would support an effort to select an "ASCOM recommended"
      > copyright statement for open source drivers and components.
      > We could make it voluntary, or perhaps even make it a
      > mandatory requirement for a component to be included in the
      > ASCOM Platform. Or we could decide to leave things as-is. Comments?
      >
      > Doug George
      > Diffraction Limited
      >
      >
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      >
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    • Tim Long
      Doug (and everyone), I would support a compulsory license for binaries that are distributed with the platform the makes it explicit that there is no
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 1, 2005
        Doug (and everyone),

        I would support a compulsory license for binaries that are distributed with the platform the makes it explicit that there is no restriction on their use, but not source. While ASCOM remains a voluntary effort, it is appropriate for the software author to select their own license. Some, perhaps even most, might be happy to redistribute their source without restriction, but I think it would be quite wrong to require that. It would be a useful service to developers if there were a template license agreement (in addition to the comments in the source code). I believe this is why most people use the GPL - because it is a readily available template that has been tried and tested.


        Tim Long
        http://syd.tigranetworks.co.uk - software for amateur astronomers



        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Douglas B. George [mailto:dgeorge@...]
        > Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 2:35 AM
        > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky
        >
        >
        > Hi Matt,
        >
        > > Moreover, given
        > > the "viral nature" of open source code, I must stay clear.
        > Open source
        > > licenses require any program that incorporates open source
        > code (like
        > > ASCOM drivers) must themselves be open source, as well. I
        > doubt I'll
        > > ever see the source code for ACP, MaxIm, etc, made publicly
        > available
        > > (another open source requirement) so I'm rather confused ASCOM being
        > > "open source."
        >
        > That generalization certainly does not apply to all open source
        > software. You're referring to a "copyleft", whose terms
        > require you to
        > disclose the source for all software derived from it.
        >
        > > Under what open source license is ASCOM distributed?
        >
        > There isn't any specific requirement under the ASCOM guidelines. In
        > fact, it's perfectly reasonable for someone to keep the source code
        > private (as a few authors have done), or sell ASCOM-compatible
        > components. ASCOM defines the interface, not the software.
        >
        > Most of the open source drivers in the ASCOM Platform say this:
        >
        > '---------------------------------------------------------------------
        > ' Copyright © 2000 ... xxxxxxxxxxxxx
        > '
        > ' Permission is hereby granted to use this Software for any purpose
        > ' including combining with commercial products, creating derivative
        > ' works, and redistribution of source or binary code, without
        > ' limitation or consideration. Any redistributed copies of this
        > ' Software must include the above Copyright Notice.
        > '
        > ' THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS". xxxxxxxxxxxxxx MAKES NO
        > ' WARRANTIES REGARDING THIS SOFTWARE, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO ITS
        > ' SUITABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
        > '---------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        > As you can see, it's obviously not a "copyleft".
        >
        > MaxIm DL is not open source. However, it has ASCOM interfaces can
        > communicate with other open-source software components, like
        > the ASCOM
        > Dome Control Panel (which I wrote and contributed as open
        > source), with
        > out any "viral" risks. We do not happen to include any
        > software derived
        > from the ASCOM Platform in MaxIm DL, but we could have done
        > so without
        > any impact. One should always read any attached copyright
        > notices, of
        > course.
        >
        > Still, you raise an issue we should probably discuss. I
        > would support
        > an effort to select an "ASCOM recommended" copyright
        > statement for open
        > source drivers and components. We could make it voluntary,
        > or perhaps
        > even make it a mandatory requirement for a component to be
        > included in
        > the ASCOM Platform. Or we could decide to leave things
        > as-is. Comments?
        >
        > Doug George
        > Diffraction Limited
        >
        >
        >
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        >
        > For more information see http://ASCOM-Standards.org/.
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email FROM THE
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      • Tim Long
        Matt, I want to address your question about licensing of the ASCOM Platform. I am speaking as an ASCOM contributor. The ASCOM Platform setup program does not
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 1, 2005
          Matt, I want to address your question about licensing of the ASCOM Platform. I am speaking as an ASCOM contributor.

          The ASCOM Platform setup program does not require the user to agree to any license. It merely notifies the user that the material is "Protected by copyright". ASCOM driver binaries are therefore available for unrestricted use by any program, commercial or otherwise, without fear of any licensing implications. Perhaps that could be made explicit in the setup program but nevertheless that is the status quo.

          ASCOM is a collaborative effort and the source code for each component is provided at the discretion of the contributor under terms and conditions they choose. Many (but not all) contributors follow the lead of the core components and provide their source code for use without restriction. Open source is encouraged but not required.

          Several components are derivative works and are thus prevented from becoming open source by copyright restriction. To give an example from my own experience, I contributed the FocusAPI adapter and there is a copyright notice in the FocusAPI materials you sent me that precludes me from redistributing that source. To be fair to you, I have not asked for permission to redistribute the source; it was just easier for me to not disclose the source of my product, either - though that might be a blessing in disguise ;-).

          So, to reiterate and reinforce the point: ASCOM source code is not distributed under any one open source license. Each contributor has the freedom to use a license of their choice, though many choose to allow unrestricted use.

          If you have any further questions about this matter I am sure the group would be happy to deal with them here, or I will try to answer them privately if you prefer.


          Tim Long
          http://syd.tigranetworks.co.uk - software for amateur astronomers



          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Matthew L. Bisque [mailto:matthew@...]
          > Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 12:55 AM
          > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: RE: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky
          >
          >
          > Bob,
          >
          > >>The info I have
          > >>doesn't state that,
          >
          > Yes it does. Read the very first set of notes. Even TeleAPI
          > code in the mid 90's shows notes on autodisconnect.
          >
          > >>#define sTeleAPIVersion "2.02"
          > >>#define sTeleAPIDate "Jan 1999"
          >
          > The above two lines are not TeleAPI code. Perhaps these are
          > your modifications? Maybe you deleted the notes on autodisconnect?
          >
          > >>and he reported that error boxes
          > >>kept popping up in TheSky, and
          > >>eventually it became unstable
          > >>and had to be killed by the
          > >>task manager.
          >
          > I'll have to attribute this behavior to a poor implementation
          > of the TeleAPI.
          >
          > I just built a version of TeleAPI that simulates a mount
          > being powered off or the cable being unplugged (tapiGetRaDec
          > returns an error code after 20 successful calls). TheSky
          > automatically disconnects the telescope and the auto
          > disconnect error is displayed.
          >
          > Whoever wrote the code the TeleAPI is calling:
          >
          > 1. Make sure *all* exceptions (not just automation
          > exceptions) are being caught and an error code is being returned.
          > 2. Make sure the device times out in a reasonable amount of
          > time when the power is shut off or cable is unplugged.
          > TheSky needs more than three *successive* errors returned by
          > tapiGetRaDec to invoke auto disconnect.
          >
          > I am counting on someone else to do this "foot work" as my
          > simulation indicates TheSky/TeleAPI are behaving
          > appropriately. Moreover, given the "viral nature" of open
          > source code, I must stay clear. Open source licenses require
          > any program that incorporates open source code (like ASCOM
          > drivers) must themselves be open source, as well. I doubt
          > I'll ever see the source code for ACP, MaxIm, etc, made
          > publicly available (another open source requirement) so I'm
          > rather confused ASCOM being "open source."
          >
          > Under what open source license is ASCOM distributed?
          >
          > Matt
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Bob Denny [mailto:rdenny@...]
          > Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 11:50 AM
          > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky
          >
          >
          > Matthew Bisque in response to Al Testani:
          > > Don't send a disconnect, but rather have the TeleAPI return
          > an error.
          >
          > It does. If I can post the actual TeleAPI symbol here, I will
          > do so. The
          > code snippet I posted is representative of the entire TeleAPI plugin.
          >
          > Matthew Bisque in response to me:
          > > If [TeleAPI] changes we like to notify all those use it.
          >
          > I did ask for any updates on a couple of occasions and didn't get a
          > reply - to me that meant no news is good news and that I have
          > the latest
          > info.
          > Here's what I have (I hope it's OK to post just comments from
          > Teleapi.c):
          >
          > //
          > //Do not alter this function,
          > //201 Added tapiPulseFocuser and tapiSettings
          > //202 Explicitly added TELEAPIEXPORT and CALLBACK to all fuctions //As
          > of January 19, 1999 the version is 2.02 // #define nTeleAPIVersion 202
          > #define sTeleAPIVersion "2.02"
          > #define sTeleAPIDate "Jan 1999"
          >
          > > TheSky will automatically disconnect the telescope after more than
          > > three (this is configurable) successive errors are returned by
          > tapiGetRaDec.
          > > Auto disconnect is clearly stated in the notes for the TeleAPI.
          >
          > The info I have doesn't state that, and I have not been notified of
          > anything newer. My TeleAPI.c has the following comments for
          > tapiGetRaDec:
          >
          > //Called when TheSky needs to know the telescope position.
          > //Return as quickly as possible as this is called very frequently.
          > //ra 0.0 to 24.0
          > //dec -90.0 to 90.0
          >
          > > [...] I'd like to help get to the bottom of this issue.
          >
          > Excellent. I talked to Chuck on the phone, and he reported that error
          > boxes kept popping up in TheSky, and eventually it became unstable and
          > had to be killed by the task manager. Also we concluded that the
          > registry problems he saw were the result of him pushing the power off
          > button while the machine was busy updating the registry. I am
          > 99.99999%
          > ceertain it was not the fault of TheSky or any other program per-se.
          >
          > At this point, I think it best for you and he to talk
          > directly since he
          > is the one with the problem, and I will furnish technical details as
          > needed.
          > Also, perhaps it would be good to allow us to talk openly
          > about TeleAPI
          > in more detail. All I was trying to do was avoid revealing any of its
          > details to the group. I'll make changes as recommended. I too want the
          > issue to be resolved as best as we can.
          >
          > -- Bob
          >
          > --
          > Bob Denny
          > rdenny@...
          >
          > DC-3 Dreams, SP
          > Makers of ACP and PinPoint
          > http://dc3.com/
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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          >
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          > TO SUBSCRIBE(!) to:
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        • Boyer, William
          How about a requirement that authors specify what permission they grant. I m working on a driver, but haven t thought about a copywriter statement to put in
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 1, 2005
            How about a requirement that authors specify what permission they grant.
            I'm working on a driver, but haven't thought about a copywriter statement to
            put in it.


            Thank you very much,
            William Boyer

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Bob Denny [mailto:rdenny@...]
            Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 11:20 PM
            To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky


            > Still, you raise an issue we should probably discuss. I would support
            > an effort to select an "ASCOM recommended" copyright statement for
            > open source drivers and components. We could make it voluntary, or
            > perhaps even make it a mandatory requirement for a component to be
            > included in the ASCOM Platform. Or we could decide to leave things as-is.
            Comments?

            Doug, the copyright you cited came from SPACE.COM, who provided the grant to
            kick-start ASCOM drivers. Since they paid for the initial round of drivers,
            they got the copyright. But much water has passed under the bridge, a number
            of people have copied and modified the original driver sources, creating
            derivative works, and SPACE.COM is now Imaginova Canada.

            I think we should try to get a release from Imaginova, then follow your
            suggestion for boilerplate. I'm not sure we need (or should have) anything
            like the Gnu Copyleft, but some sort of boilerplate that permits
            unrestricted usage of the code would be good.

            My own opinion is that source submission should be encouraged but voluntary.
            I'm keen to see things evolve to where drivers come with instruments, like
            drivers come with printers and video boards. For that to happen, I think the
            manufacturers need to feel comfortable not furnishing sources.

            -- Bob

            --
            Bob Denny
            rdenny@...

            DC-3 Dreams, SP
            Makers of ACP and PinPoint
            http://dc3.com/





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          • Matthew L. Bisque
            Doug, I think I see the problem here. ASCOM s definition of open source differs from the industry standard definition (or maybe its just me?). I take the
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 8, 2005
              Doug,

              I think I see the "problem" here.

              ASCOM's definition of "open source" differs from the industry standard
              definition (or maybe its just me?).

              I take the definition of the term "open source" from the "Open Source
              Initiative" (OSI) at http://www.opensource.org/, and the related open
              source license from http://www.opensource.org/licenses/gpl-license.php.
              The Linux operating system and the Apache web server are popular "open
              source" projects. For either of these projects the "open source"
              license gives everyone the right to access the entire source code,
              compile, modify and re-distribute it.

              >>Most of the open source
              >>drivers in the ASCOM

              >>However, it has ASCOM interfaces
              >>can communicate with other
              >>open-source software components,

              >>(which I wrote and contributed as
              >>open source),

              The term "open source" is used three times above - none of the
              references meet the industry standard criteria of being open source.

              To avoid confusion, perhaps there is a more appropriate term for ASCOM
              drivers and source code rather than "open source?" From what I can
              tell, ASCOM drivers are freeware and ASCOM source code ranges from
              proprietary to public domain, none of which is open source.

              >>I would support an effort to
              >>select an "ASCOM recommended"
              >>copyright statement

              That would be helpful. The authors should consider their rights
              carefully.

              Thanks,

              Matt

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Douglas B. George [mailto:dgeorge@...]
              Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 7:35 PM
              To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky


              Hi Matt,

              > Moreover, given
              > the "viral nature" of open source code, I must stay clear. Open
              > source licenses require any program that incorporates open source code

              > (like ASCOM drivers) must themselves be open source, as well. I doubt

              > I'll ever see the source code for ACP, MaxIm, etc, made publicly
              > available (another open source requirement) so I'm rather confused
              > ASCOM being "open source."

              That generalization certainly does not apply to all open source
              software. You're referring to a "copyleft", whose terms require you to
              disclose the source for all software derived from it.

              > Under what open source license is ASCOM distributed?

              There isn't any specific requirement under the ASCOM guidelines. In
              fact, it's perfectly reasonable for someone to keep the source code
              private (as a few authors have done), or sell ASCOM-compatible
              components. ASCOM defines the interface, not the software.

              Most of the open source drivers in the ASCOM Platform say this:

              '---------------------------------------------------------------------
              ' Copyright (c) 2000 ... xxxxxxxxxxxxx
              '
              ' Permission is hereby granted to use this Software for any purpose '
              including combining with commercial products, creating derivative '
              works, and redistribution of source or binary code, without ' limitation
              or consideration. Any redistributed copies of this ' Software must
              include the above Copyright Notice.
              '
              ' THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS". xxxxxxxxxxxxxx MAKES NO '
              WARRANTIES REGARDING THIS SOFTWARE, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO ITS '
              SUITABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
              '---------------------------------------------------------------------

              As you can see, it's obviously not a "copyleft".

              MaxIm DL is not open source. However, it has ASCOM interfaces can
              communicate with other open-source software components, like the ASCOM
              Dome Control Panel (which I wrote and contributed as open source), with
              out any "viral" risks. We do not happen to include any software derived
              from the ASCOM Platform in MaxIm DL, but we could have done so without
              any impact. One should always read any attached copyright notices, of
              course.

              Still, you raise an issue we should probably discuss. I would support
              an effort to select an "ASCOM recommended" copyright statement for open
              source drivers and components. We could make it voluntary, or perhaps
              even make it a mandatory requirement for a component to be included in
              the ASCOM Platform. Or we could decide to leave things as-is.
              Comments?

              Doug George
              Diffraction Limited
            • Douglas B. George
              ... Ah, I see what you mean... we re not being very precise about the terminology. Here s some background on the generally accepted terminology, from the GNU
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 8, 2005
                Matthew L. Bisque wrote:
                > Doug,
                >
                > I think I see the "problem" here.
                >
                > ASCOM's definition of "open source" differs from the industry standard
                > definition (or maybe its just me?).
                > ...
                > To avoid confusion, perhaps there is a more appropriate term for ASCOM
                > drivers and source code rather than "open source?" From what I can
                > tell, ASCOM drivers are freeware and ASCOM source code ranges from
                > proprietary to public domain, none of which is open source.

                Ah, I see what you mean... we're not being very precise about the
                terminology.

                Here's some background on the generally accepted terminology, from the
                GNU site:

                http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html

                Judging by that, "Free software" is the best description of what we are
                doing with ASCOM.

                As far as I know, all ASCOM-distributed software that includes source
                code is "Non-copylefted free software", but that's (a) a mouthful and
                (b) probably won't be well understood by the general public. So we
                should probably use "Free Software".

                Of course the terminology, while helpful, isn't what really matters if
                you're going to use the software. What REALLY matters is the actual
                copyright notice that is included. But I would agree that we should
                change our terminology.

                Anyway your comment was helpful, Matt... thank you!

                Doug

                -----------------------------------

                Doug George
                dgeorge@...

                Diffraction Limited
                Makers of Cyanogen Imaging Products
                http://www.cyanogen.com

                25 Conover Street
                Ottawa, Ontario,
                Canada, K2G 4C3

                Phone: (613) 225-2732
                Fax: (613) 225-9688

                -----------------------------------
              • Tim Long
                I respectfully disagree with some of the statements made. First, I think it is worth reiterating some of the points from the ASCOM mission statement (full
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 8, 2005
                  I respectfully disagree with some of the statements made. First, I think it is worth reiterating some of the points from the ASCOM 'mission statement' (full version at www.ascom-standards.org):

                  2. Provide a freely available set of instrument drivers that implement the standards established in (1). These drivers must be usable apart from any particular application, and directly from Windows Active Script languages and Automation based tools.

                  3. Promote (but not absolutely require) open-source implementations of the drivers in (2).

                  Even if we had all agreed on one particular definition of what "open source" is (and I don't think we have), ASCOM only seeks to promote open source development and neither claims to require it, nor that the entire platform meets any particular level of attainment in that respect. Nor should it be so; each driver is the intellectual property of the individual contributor, to license howsoever they wish.

                  I do not regard the ASCOM Platform as a single piece of software or a "product". It is a convenient distribution mechanism for a suite of drivers and utilities collected from various contributors, with various different licensing requirements, some open source, some not. The platform and its associated web site and mailing list also serve as a focal point for development, support and communication.

                  The only claim made here is that the drivers in the platform are "freely available". That doesn't even necessarily mean they are required to be free-of-charge, though in practice they are.

                  Therefore, I submit that it is futile to limit ASCOM to any particular licensing scheme or to measure the ASCOM Platform against any particular definition of 'open source' as that would be both misleading and might infringe on the individual contributor's rights.

                  The binary executables are a different matter, however. The copyright notice displayed by the platform installer states that the executables may be used by third party software (commercial or otherwise) and/or redistributed without restriction. Those who contribute to the platform, by inference, agree to those terms.

                  While this is all very interesting, it is just semantics. The salient point is that anyone can get ASCOM for free and most of it has the source code included, so that the inner workings can be understood and, if necessary, modified to suit requirements. By any reasonable criteria, that is free software that is very much in the spirit of open source development. I see no inconsistency nor any need to be constrained by particular definitions or terminology.

                  Tim Long
                  http://syd.tigranetworks.co.uk - software for amateur astronomers



                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Douglas B. George [mailto:dgeorge@...]
                  > Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 6:48 PM
                  > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [ASCOM] Drivers and TheSky
                  >
                  >
                  > Matthew L. Bisque wrote:
                  > > Doug,
                  > >
                  > > I think I see the "problem" here.
                  > >
                  > > ASCOM's definition of "open source" differs from the
                  > industry standard
                  > > definition (or maybe its just me?).
                  > > ...
                  > > To avoid confusion, perhaps there is a more appropriate
                  > term for ASCOM > drivers and source code rather than "open
                  > source?" From what I can > tell, ASCOM drivers are freeware
                  > and ASCOM source code ranges from > proprietary to public
                  > domain, none of which is open source.
                  >
                  > Ah, I see what you mean... we're not being very precise about
                  > the terminology.
                  >
                  > Here's some background on the generally accepted terminology,
                  > from the GNU site:
                  >
                  > http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html
                  >
                  > Judging by that, "Free software" is the best description of
                  > what we are doing with ASCOM.
                  >
                  > As far as I know, all ASCOM-distributed software that
                  > includes source code is "Non-copylefted free software", but
                  > that's (a) a mouthful and
                  > (b) probably won't be well understood by the general public.
                  > So we should probably use "Free Software".
                  >
                  > Of course the terminology, while helpful, isn't what really
                  > matters if you're going to use the software. What REALLY
                  > matters is the actual copyright notice that is included. But
                  > I would agree that we should change our terminology.
                  >
                  > Anyway your comment was helpful, Matt... thank you!
                  >
                  > Doug
                  >
                  > -----------------------------------
                  >
                  > Doug George
                  > dgeorge@...
                  >
                  > Diffraction Limited
                  > Makers of Cyanogen Imaging Products
                  > http://www.cyanogen.com
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