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Old   July 7, 2011, 18:20
Default OpenFOAM BSD or LGPL (again)
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David
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There was a thread on this subject from last February, but I'd like to bring it up again. This message is directed to the copyright holders for OpenFOAM.

I think it would benefit the whole community if OpenFOAM was available under the LPGL.

I observe that:

  1. GPL is not compatible with many other OSS licenses. By my reading even Paraview is incompatible with GPL. See footnote.
  2. Commercial solvers and viewers are not going open source over FOAM support. What they will do is either ignore FOAM, write their own loader, or license a FOAM software from another company. Software that does support FOAM is likely to be slow, buggy, or outdated.
Is the FOAM GPL license helping you? Is the FOAM GPL license helping engineers using commercial software?

For everyone's good, please make OpenFOAM more available under the LGPL or BSD license.

# GPLv3 states, "You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License." The Paraview licenses make further restrictions. This is the same reason GPL is incompatible with the original BSD license. Even if I'm mistaken, users who care about following licenses have to think this through, and may be confused or dissuaded.
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Old   July 8, 2011, 03:49
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Laurence R. McGlashan
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It would be appreciated if you stated who you were and what affiliations you have. What is the GPL preventing you from doing? Please be more specific.

How does the GPL prevent you from using paraview? It's a separate piece of software.

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For everyone's good, please make OpenFOAM more available under the LGPL or BSD license.
Please don't purport to speak for everyone.
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Old   July 8, 2011, 05:52
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A software license primarily serves the interests of the copyright holders and not the users. The GPL license is intended to make people that choose to extend/add the software work in a way that gives the main project the option to include their contributions. A less restrictive license would give third parties the option of whether to contribute to the main project or not. Given the way the main project currently handles contributions from others and the way the software is managed what would you expect to happen if the software was freed/opened up with a less restrictive license? Is that going to better serve the current copyright holders interests?
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Old   July 8, 2011, 17:09
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mcglashan, I'm blocked from #2. As for paraview, I think they can't bundle OpenFOAM with their product due to the GPL. They had to write their own, just as everyone else has to, because of GPL. Does that help anyone?

andy, I don't know what goals the authors have. I hope that helping engineers get their job done is high on the list, and interop is key to that. What I would expect to see as a result of BSD is that various vendors adopt FOAM into their products. I imagine that most vendors wouldn't change the code, to more easily track the mainline. What do you expect would happen? Something awful?

Unless someone is going to write a GPL solver and viewer good enough to win the market, the GPL is incompatible with tools people use. Why not relicense OpenFOAM so that everyone can use it?
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Old   July 9, 2011, 04:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by play9 View Post
andy, I don't know what goals the authors have. I hope that helping engineers get their job done is high on the list, and interop is key to that.
I am curious about how you expect to put forward a reasonable argument for the copyright holders to change their license without giving consideration to the best interests of the copyright holders themselves?. It would seem to be the only thing of much relevance.

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Originally Posted by play9 View Post
What I would expect to see as a result of BSD is that various vendors adopt FOAM into their products.
Why and what type of vendor?

The license of OpenFOAM is irrelevant for most of the independent tools that communicate with OpenFOAM via files as pointed out by Laurence above.

One can combine existing BSD code with OpenFOAM code if you wish to extend OpenFOAM. BSD licenses permit such usage.

Problems only occur for those that wish to extend OpenFOAM but do not want/cannot apply a GPL or BSD license to their code. If people wish to withhold their contributions or are required to withhold their contributions by their employers then, given the open(ish) form of the OpenFOAM project, is it going to be in the OpenFOAM copyright holders best interests to permit or hinder a one-sided collaboration?

Like you, my short term interests would be better served by a BSD license but I am not confusing my interests with the interests of those developing OpenFOAM full time or the longer term viability of the project.

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Originally Posted by play9 View Post
I imagine that most vendors wouldn't change the code, to more easily track the mainline.
If they do not change the code what is the relevance of the license?

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Originally Posted by play9 View Post
What do you expect would happen? Something awful?
I would expect the current copyright holders to lose a significant degree of control over the use and evolution of their code. I would expect an increase in the use of the code for short term commercial gain outside the project. One or two more "serious" contributors may become involved but push the management of the project in directions aligned with their interests. On balance, I suspect the cons would outweigh the pros for the current copyright holders but this can only be speculation.

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Originally Posted by play9 View Post
Unless someone is going to write a GPL solver and viewer good enough to win the market, the GPL is incompatible with tools people use. Why not relicense OpenFOAM so that everyone can use it?
This doesn't seem to make much sense. Can you please expand on what you mean by tools.
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Old   July 9, 2011, 10:07
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Laurence R. McGlashan
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Just for completeness and in case anyone missed it here is a link that should clarify the stance of OpenCFD:

http://www.openfoam.com/legal/open-source.php

Key points being:

OpenCFD will always release OpenFOAM as free, open source software under the GPL.

No-one else has the right to use OpenFOAM other than under the terms of the GPL.
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Old   July 9, 2011, 11:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l_r_mcglashan View Post
Just for completeness and in case anyone missed it here is a link that should clarify the stance of OpenCFD:

http://www.openfoam.com/legal/open-source.php
If I was looking for a partner to develop software, statements like this would make me rather wary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by l_r_mcglashan View Post
OpenCFD will always release OpenFOAM as free, open source software under the GPL.
Always is a long time but in practise this often rests on how the copyright of contributed code is handled. If a project requires the copyright of all contributed code to pass to the project owners it makes changing the license a viable option.
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Old   July 11, 2011, 02:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by play9 View Post
mcglashan, I'm blocked from #2. As for paraview, I think they can't bundle OpenFOAM with their product due to the GPL. They had to write their own, just as everyone else has to, because of GPL. Does that help anyone?
You cite your supposition as proof. This is quite odd. Did you verify this with Terry Jordan, Tayuka Oshima or someone from Kitware? Where did Kitware express their wish to "bundle" OpenFOAM with paraview?
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Old   July 11, 2011, 09:32
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Mark,

I think he means the OpenFOAM reader for ParaView, and not OpenFOAM itself, since he points to Takuya's wiki page on his native reader.
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Old   July 11, 2011, 13:51
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deepsterblue is correct, I'm only talking about I/O libraries. For that portion, I think that LPGL/BSD would allow others (commercial and non-compatible OSS) to interoperate without taking much if anything away from the OpenFOAM copyright holders.

olesen, I didn't verify with Kitware. Apparently they haven't complained about any bundling yet, but my interpretation of the licenses indicates a conflict. If nobody complains then there isn't a problem, but there always could be.
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Old   July 11, 2011, 17:34
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Greetings to all!

David, from my point of view, you're giving a bad example as to why OpenFOAM's core should be LGPL or even BSD. To show you what I mean, allow me to (try to) explain this in a bullet point pseudo-presentation

Why should OpenFOAM's core be LGPL or even BSD?
(An in favour of GPL point of view, as a specific response to the original poster of this thread)
  • License conflict? Googling compatibility between BSD and GPL... First hit:
    Quote:
    Modified BSD license
    (Note: on the preceding link, the modified BSD license is listed in the General section.)

    This is the original BSD license, modified by removal of the advertising clause. It is a simple, permissive non-copyleft free software license, compatible with the GNU GPL.
    Source: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-...ml#ModifiedBSD - underline added for emphasis. Further reading is left to the viewer.
    Keep in mind that the ParaView license 1.2 isnít 100% this Modified BSD license, but it's close enough.
  • The reader integrated in ParaView is designed for high performance. One of the reasons why this is possible, is because it doesn't have dependencies on the OpenFOAM libraries.
  • The official OpenFOAM reader provided with OpenFOAM has a different release rate from the internal reader. The official reader will always read the cases, even if it's sub-optimal, while the updated internal reader will only be available when the next ParaView version is released... unless you're also working with the git version of ParaView.
    Additionally, in OpenFOAM 2.0 you can choose which reader to use:
    • For using the official reader:
      Code:
      paraFoam
    • For using the internal reader:
      Code:
      paraFoam -builtin

So, to sum up:
  1. Redundancy can be a good thing! Two examples: RAID and RAIN
  2. Quote:
    Originally Posted by http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire
    Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. - The better is the enemy of the good.
    Variant translations: The perfect is the enemy of the good.
    The best is the enemy of the good.
  3. OpenFOAM providing a plug-in for ParaView for opening cases is very good!
  4. ParaView providing an improved internal reader for opening OpenFOAM cases is excellent!

Reasons for OpenFOAM to stick to GPL:
  1. ANSYS vs CD-Adapco non-compete Lawsuit
(Yes, one reason is enough but only enough if you read into it.)


Homework:
  1. From the following list, name CFD codes or toolboxes (that have CFD solvers) that are open source, non-GPL, stable enough and free for commercial use: http://www.cfd-online.com/Links/soft.html#cfd_codes
  2. If not found on that list, try to find any references to the existence of code that fits into the aforementioned profile.
Questions?


----------------
Disclaimers:
  • The points of view expressed in this pseudo-presentation have not been endorsed by OpenCFD Ltd, nor am I related to OpenCFD Ltd. OpenFOAM and OpenCFD are trade marks of OpenCFD Ltd.
  • If you wish to quote the writings of this post, please include a reference to the link of this post on your textual transcript.
  • Transcribing the contents of this post to a book is ... not advised :P Or at least your editor/publisher might not like the idea...

Best regards,
Bruno
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