Distribution of a plugin with proprietary code

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Distribution of a plugin with proprietary code

Mark Krebs-2
Dear ImageJ List,

We seek to distribute an ImageJ/Fiji plugin that makes use of code provided by an instrument manufacturer to translate their proprietary image format data into a form accessible by ImageJ/Fiji.  The manufacturer does not wish to allow open source access of their code, although they will permit access to our plugin as long as their portion can be made inaccessible.

Distribution through a personal update site at Fiji Distribution (http://fiji.sc/Distribution) would seem an attractive option, however the highly recommended option of providing open source code through github would not be possible.

What, then, is the recommended strategy for sharing our plugin?  We are also interested in any information about what would be the best license for distribution, given that the inclusion of a proprietary module would invalidate a GPLv3 approach.

Cheers,
Mark Krebs
The Jackson Laboratory

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Re: Distribution of a plugin with proprietary code

ctrueden
Hi Mark,

It sounds like your plugin's code can be open source—just not the code of
the instrument manufacturer. Presumably the manufacturer is OK with you
distributing a binary of their library, along with your plugin binary?

Note that ImageJ update sites do not typically ship any source code—only
binaries.

Regarding licensing, in general see http://choosealicense.com/. If you want
permissive (e.g., ISC or MIT), there is no conflict. If you want copyleft,
you can use the GPLv3—you would just need to include an exception clause;
see:

* http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#GPLIncompatibleLibs
* http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#FSWithNFLibs

But note that this is not 100% firm legal ground, and I Am Not A Lawyer.

Regards,
Curtis

On Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 9:34 AM, Mark Krebs <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dear ImageJ List,
>
> We seek to distribute an ImageJ/Fiji plugin that makes use of code
> provided by an instrument manufacturer to translate their proprietary image
> format data into a form accessible by ImageJ/Fiji.  The manufacturer does
> not wish to allow open source access of their code, although they will
> permit access to our plugin as long as their portion can be made
> inaccessible.
>
> Distribution through a personal update site at Fiji Distribution (
> http://fiji.sc/Distribution) would seem an attractive option, however the
> highly recommended option of providing open source code through github
> would not be possible.
>
> What, then, is the recommended strategy for sharing our plugin?  We are
> also interested in any information about what would be the best license for
> distribution, given that the inclusion of a proprietary module would
> invalidate a GPLv3 approach.
>
> Cheers,
> Mark Krebs
> The Jackson Laboratory
>
> --
> ImageJ mailing list: http://imagej.nih.gov/ij/list.html
>

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ImageJ mailing list: http://imagej.nih.gov/ij/list.html