[mesa-users] MESASDK license

RICHARD H D TOWNSEND townsend at astro.wisc.edu
Fri May 13 13:31:47 EDT 2016

Hi Ehsan —

The SDK has no specific license, since (beyond a few scripts) it is just a bundle of other packages, each having its own license.

As far as GPL-licensed packages go, I think this language from the GPL FAQ applies:

"What is the difference between an "aggregate" and other kinds of "modified versions"?

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.



> On May 12, 2016, at 4:03 PM, Ehsan Moravveji <e.moravveji at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear MESA users,
> For a document that I’m preparing, I have to mention the software license system under which MESASDK is distributed.
> In my root mesasdk directory, the README file says that, indeed, the SDK is a bundle for several open-source packages.
> Does this imply that the SDK itself is also distributed with an open-source license? 
> If so, does it mean that an explicit license file should exist in the main mesasdk root directory (like the typical LGPL/GPL licenses)?
> I hope my question makes some sense, because I’m really, really, really, not familiar with these aspects. ;-)
> Best regards,
> Ehsan.

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