2007.07.14 08:00 "[Tiff] [ANNOUNCE]: Libtiff 3.9.0beta released", by Andrey Kiselev

2007.07.16 11:44 "Re: [Tiff] [ANNOUNCE]: Libtiff 3.9.0beta released", by Andy Cave

Hi Andrey,

You are correct - "LibTIFF does not contain either patended algorithms, nor GPLed code", but with the codec for JBIG you can end up (by default - unless this is not the case, which is what I'm asking) dynamically linking to "patented algorithms and GPLed code".

Two things:

  1. I don't quite see why you do not see the point and don't agree with you. But never mind. I'll not bother writing any more.
  2. In patents, there is something called "induced infringment". I think that if "JBIG-KIT" is compilable in by default, then LibTIFF is potentially inducing people to infringe.
  3. Personally, it's not a problem for me, since if we were to use 3.9/4.0 of LibTIFF then we'd remove JBIG support (but we won't (use it), since we have recently written our own TIFF library which is substantially faster than LibTIFF for compression & decompression). But other people with less experience either may not know they need to, or not know how.
  4. Anyway, the main intention of my email was to make people aware that there might be an issue for them here.


----- Original Message -----

On 7/16/07, Andy Cave <andy.cave@hamillroad.com> wrote:

I hope that this is not the case. If so, I think that's bad, as it's the only code in LibTIFF which is not completely unencumbered from patents, license fees and GPL. When we had LZW in LibTIFF and it was patented, there used to be a 'dummy' file that was compiled in by default and to get real LZW you had to explicitly compile it in. I think this should be the case with JBIG-KIT given that:

  1. it is covered by patents - even though these can be obtained for free.
  2. you have to license it (from Cambridge University).
  3. it is restricted by GPL.


I do not see the point. Libtiff does not contain neither patented algorithms, nor GPLed code.

Otherwise, if someone just happens to have JBIG-KIT on their PC and builds LibTIFF they could end up infringing on patents, infringing on copyright licensing and violating GPL.

I do not see the point either. If you have JBIG-KIT on your PC that means you solved patent/licensing problems for yourself in some way. libtiff adds nothing to that problems. To start violating GPL you should start distributing software, because GPL is all about distribution (please, re-read license terms). To start distributing JBIG-enabled software you should place JBIG library in the archive with your program and at that point you should understand what you doing. It is not a problem to link libtiff with JBIG-KIT on your PC, GPL will start working when you will redistribute JBIG-KIT with your software.

I think that if this happens, it could open up a whole can of worms - for example rather than have to then publish their (commercial) code, a company might end up suing the people who opened up this can of worms.

It should be quite naive developer to include GPLed binaries in closed source solution. I can hardly imagine that. Also you are using word 'commercial' the second time as an opposite of GPL. But GPLed solutions are commercial too. I have two commercial solutions just under my hand, it is SLES and RHEL Linux distributions, they are full of GPLed software (starting from the system heart, the kernel) and we paid a pile of money for both. Also I am recommend to learn how MontaVista works, it is probably one of the most widely used operating systems at the moment, and still GPLed, and still commercial.