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GNU is Not Unix

Epson Pulls Linux Software Following GPL Violations 292

ChrisWong writes "GPL violations has caused Epson to yank their free downloads of their ImageScan! and Photo Image Print System software for Linux. While one can use xsane instead of their ImageScan! software, the latter is easier to use and produces subjectively more attractive output."
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Epson Pulls Linux Software Following GPL Violations

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  • by gblues ( 90260 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:40PM (#4241054)
    Are we supposed to be mad at the Evil Corporation(tm) for violating the GPL, or dancing in the streets because Epson is taking proactive steps to remedy said GPL violations? Please, Slashdot, tell me how I'm supposed to think!

    • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:43PM (#4241077)
      Well, I'm doing the latter, but I'd bet that 70% of the posts on this subject are going to be the former. So if you want to go with the majority, I'd make some nasty remark about Epson in a hurry.
      • by gblues ( 90260 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:47PM (#4241112)
        Okay, how's this: I hate Epson! I bought their Perfection 1250U and have had ZERO PROBLEMS WITH IT!! What kind of self-resepecting company makes products that are easy to install and use?


    • Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by T-Kir ( 597145 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:51PM (#4241148) Homepage

      I agree, it is nice to see a big company like Epson actually commit themselves to *nix support, and for them to raise their hand and say 'Ooops, we're sorting it out, sorry about that'.

      Disclosure like this will mean they'll get more respect for being honest about the situation, rather than burying their head in the sand hoping people won't notice (like a certain company and their interpretation of OS security). A company who admit their mistakes will be more inclined to learn from them, rather than focusing their efforts on passing the buck.

    • So far you are supposed to be happy at the actions they took. If they don't re-release the software after they fix the GPL violations you are free to rant and rave about how Borg-like they are.

      Seriously though, they openly admitted that the FSF advised them that they were in violation, they took the software down, and they said they are going to make changes and re-release after they become compliant again.

      So far, yay for Epson.
    • Are we supposed to be mad at the Evil Corporation(tm) for violating the GPL, or dancing in the streets because Epson is taking proactive steps to remedy said GPL violations? Please, Slashdot, tell me how I'm supposed to think!

      Actually I am the one who is confused. Isn't Evil Corporation a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation?

      Actually I am happy with Epson for the most part.
  • At least... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:41PM (#4241066) Homepage
    At least they did the right thing... acknowledged the problem, and did an internal audit, and found a problem in the second piece of software.

    The website implied that they'd have a compliant version up sometime, and that everyone should upgrade when it's available.
  • Kudos for Epson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phr2 ( 545169 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:43PM (#4241075)
    for dealing with this responsibly--assuming, of course, that the violations weren't intentional. The /. post seems to have an overtone of "because of the GPL we lost a nice piece of software". But I think that's inappropriate way to look at it. Rather, I hope that after taking stock of the situation, Epson decides to release the source code for those programs per the terms of the GPL. That's what the GPL is trying to promote and incentivize. If we miss out on a few possibly-useful proprietary programs as a result, I can live with that.
    • I'm sorry, but I've got to do this.

      That's what the GPL is trying to promote and

      I won't go so far as to say incentivize is not a word, but why use bastardized, management-speakized, elongatized, usurpized, verbized words when perfectly good words already exist?

      Did you mean encourage? develop? inspire? Well, how about using one of verbs, instead of enlargizing the innocent little noun, incentive.


      • He's obviously a hacker (using the ESR definition of "hacker".) Overgeneralizing portions of the English language into "new" words like this is a longstanding hacker tradition.

        See the "Overgeneralization" node in the Jargon File: ralization [] (The link works, but I don't know why Slashdot is inserting that extra space in the text.)

      • Did you mean encourage? develop? inspire? Well, how about using one of verbs, instead of enlargizing the innocent little noun, incentive.

        Because none of those words have precisely the same meaning as incentivize? It's more specific than encourage.

        I'm sure there are many vapid and near-vapid words out there from the management lexicon, but this is not one of them.

  • So the news is.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:43PM (#4241079)
    a company doing something propelry instead of putting spin on it?

    They admit the FSF informed them of violations, so they pulled the software from the site in order to check it out and get into compliance. They also drop a hint that they will encourage anyone to upgrade to the new compliant version once released.

    Seems like they are playing fair to me.
    • Yeah, they sure were polite on the page informing of the temporary download stoppage.

      Made me wanna go out and buy their stuff. If this is an indicator of things to come... I can't wait!
  • by fiori ( 45848 )
    I'm in the process of purchasing printers and a company acting responsibly, with respect to the GPL or any license, would seem to be a company I'd be happy doing business with. Realistically, this is the best method to encourage hardware manufacturers to support the FSF and it's goals.

    • But we don't know if they've behaved responsibly or not, unless we know the actual violation!

      What was their crime? Linking to the wrong kernel module? Cutting and pasting GPL source into their drivers?
    • by brer_rabbit ( 195413 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:04PM (#4241244) Journal
      I haven't used the software in question, but I'm glad Epson decided to act responsible with respect to the GPL. Thing is, don't you wonder how Epson got in trouble with the FSF to begin with? The GPL was violated. I'm wondering which scenario is more likely:

      (A) Joe Developer knowingly doesn't tell his boss that his software is based on GPL software and passes it off as original.

      (B) Joe Developer tries release software under the GPL but either his boss or marketing droids don't give a rats ass about it and release it as Epson proprietary.

    • I chose Epson because [] praised Epson's linux support:

      There are two brands worth considering for use with free software ... Epson [and] Hewlett-Packard...

  • IP issues (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xyote ( 598794 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:53PM (#4241171)
    They may not want to release it under GPL if it includes their own propietary code. If they are foreced to release it anyway that will certainly bolster Microsofts argument and scare a lot of companies from using or contributing to GPLed code.
    • They can always refuse to accept the GPL, in whoich case it is a simple copyright violation. In that case, the worst that can happen is that they have to pay damages.

      I don't know whose code they distributed, but the FSF never dues for damages if the violater stop distributing the code. It is unclear how much the damages for distributing gratis code would amount to anyway. Usually the court take the price per copy times number of copies to find the damages (at least here in Denmark), which is cheap when the price is zero.
      • Uh uh.

        You can't just pay damages and continue to violate copyright. The first thing any judge would do is grant an injunction against your continued distribution of the violating material.

        Heck, it's even possible the Judge would make you responsible for stopping other people's distribution of it too, which would make your legal fees skyrocket as you started suing every Tom, Dick, and Harry who mirrored your software.

        As for damages, it's very much unknown if you'd get any. In the US you have to have filed for copyright in order to secure damages -- otherwise all you can get is an injunction to stop further violations. Of course, if the company ignores that injunction then they're in contempt of court, which does have hefty damages associated with it. But you won't see any of that money.
        • "You can't just pay damages and continue to violate copyright."

          I believe that's not relevant. We already know that Epson is stopping the distribution. What's being discussed is whether or not the past (accidental) violation could be used to force Epson to open up the code, even if Epson wants to instead produce a new closed-source version that doesn't use any GPLed code. I don't think anyone's proposing the idea of Epson engaging in a continued, willful violation.

        • In the US, you can sue for actual damages and profits even if you register after the infringement and more than three months after publication. Once you've registered you can sue for statutory damages (amounts set by law, up to US$100,000) for any future infringement.
      • They can always refuse to accept the GPL, in whoich case it is a simple copyright violation. In that case, the worst that can happen is that they have to pay damages.

        I don't know whose code they distributed, but the FSF never dues for damages if the violater stop distributing the code. It is unclear how much the damages for distributing gratis code would amount to anyway. Usually the court take the price per copy times number of copies to find the damages (at least here in Denmark), which is cheap when the price is zero.

        This is a very interesting question. If Epson were to refuse to release their proprietary code that was linked with GPL code, that would void the license grant in the GPL and make it a simple case of copyright violation (reproducing the GPL code without authorization of the copyright holder).

        Now, it seems like an open-and-shut case to say that the court would find infringement had taken place -- after all, they were distributing binaries including that GPL code. (Supposing that Epson was intransigent instead of cooperative, and that the FSF took it to court.)

        It seems clear that a flagrent GPL violation would result in an injunction against redistribution of the GPL code, but they could still rewrite their code to replace the GPL code with non-GPL code and distribute that later. (As Epson is doing now.)

        So, the real question comes down to damages. Since damages are usually tied to economic loss, and the GPL code is (usually) freely available, there's a good argument to be made that there was no economic loss to the owner of the GPL code (since the people who received the infringing copies could have received the same GPL code for free through another means, and the GPL even grants those people a license even from the infringing copy!) -- perhaps the court would find that "actual" damages are therefore zero, no matter how flagrent the GPL violation? If so, perhaps the threat of court action over copyright infringement isn't as stong as it sounds?

        Does the GPL really have enough teeth for enforcement if a straight copyright infringement case might not be costly enough to discourage misuse of GPL code? If Microsoft is willing to steal Stak's compression code outright (and they did), which caused actual damages, should they be so worried about the GPL? Or can they just say "we've never intended to apply the GPL to our products" to dodge the "viral" nature of the GPL and simply pay off the occasional copyright infringement case (and rewrite the code) in the few instances where they can be caught red-handed?

        Of course, if there are statutory damages for the copyright infringement, those would apply even in the absence of actual damages. I think someone mentioned damages of $100,000 -- but only applicable if the copyright is registered with the Copyright Office? (Then again, even $100,000 is pocket change to a company like Microsoft...)

        Disclaimer: I think Epson is doing the Right Thing, and I'm not a lawyer. Take the above with a grain of salt; this is just food for thought...
  • by stevek ( 25276 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:57PM (#4241197) Homepage

    So, please keep your flames to a moderate temperature.

    While it would be cool if what they did here was to GPL their whole package, and contribute to the community, it looks like they'll replace whatever minor piece of GPL code they've incorporated with something else.

    Epson has been pretty good about providing relatively good documentation and developer support for their products (which is why their printers and scanners are the best supported out there by free code), even if they haven't contributed actual code or algorithms.

    Sure, people could intentionally steal a GPL projects' work and call it their own (i.e. Sigma Designs theft of Xvid's codec), which is pretty slimy, but heck, sometimes people just make mistakes. Maybe someone thought a package was BSD licensed, and wasn't careful enough, or didn't understand some semantic issue of the GPL..

    Or, maybe they are thieves also, but I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, and call them innocent unless proven guilty.
  • I know I've pimped it here before, but I don't mind doing it again. VueScan [] is the best scanning software for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. It supports all Epson USB, SCSI, and IEEE-1394 flatbed scanners, and a SCSI film scanner. The program is shareware, and registration costs $40.
  • by Trevelyan ( 535381 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:59PM (#4241213)
    One of the popular Jabber clients PSI [] has also found some company has used their source in a closed source product, they are in talks w/ the co. and FSF.
    I find their poll (Is the GPL inforcable) an interesting one you may want to vote on.

    I also remember read about another GPL violation on /. I think it was an mpeg codec or something, my memory fials me (and so did a quick /. search)
  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:00PM (#4241222) Homepage
    someone mentioned demanding the source code.

    thats just the sort of over-reaction thats going to make a company not want to deal with linux.

    be happy they are rectifying the problem.

    if you want to encourage linux development, attacking anyone that slips up with reckless abandon is not the way to do it, especially when it may have been an honest mistake.

    zealots dont make good reps.

    • You're kidding, right?

      Demanding the source code means they release the
      source code, means their products get better
      software, means they sell more products, means they
      make more money.

      I'm sure the Epson shareholders are just quaking
      in fear that they might be forced to make more

      • Moreover, they sell *hardware* i.e. they should encourage
        to provide as much
        interoperability as they can get.
        Imagine this:
        A Coward took their code, makes insuitable changes
        (for example add code that add random distortion to
        scanned/printed images) and put his binaries and code
        without providing his name to famous download places.
        Unsuspecting People will get a lot of spoiled binaries instead,
        install it and blame printer supplier for bad quality.
        How to avoid it?
        • Let's see:

          1. If you want Epson's drivers, wouldn't you probably get them from a reliable source like, oh... Epson? Or your distribution supplier of choice?

          2. If nothing else, they could licence the trademarks for the unmodified version only so that modified versions can't be confused with the original (I believe there's a line like this in the Info-ZIP licence.)

          3. What's to stop someone from mangling a binary-only driver with the old search 'n replace, and creating similar problems? A quick change to a "set-resolution" or "change mode" command could cause just as much hassle.
          • 1. I agree. But a lot of slightly stupid users don't. They can download that drivers for example from or other places like that.

            2. Oopsie?! I mean GPL! You cannot relicense GPL-containing code for Info-ZIP (and any other) license!
            So your (2.) is unapplicable in this case.

            3. Mangling a binary-only driver is a much harder job than to mangle source.
      • Demanding the source code means they release the source code

        Which means that their proprietary, core business logic of dithering and color matching gets released to all of their competitors! Whee!

        You know, the exact same stuff that they get marked higher on than their competitors in reviews of their hardware? Yeah, that stuff.
    • This is missing the point of the GPL. The code is not there as a free repository for anyone who wants a shortcut to developing their own application. It is the same as proprietary code in its legal protection (at least in theory) and using it is theft/plagiarism/copyright theft/whatever.

      The license makes it clear. It is not an ambiguous document either.

      Amd who said they slipped up? I find it hard to believe that someone, trying to write an application, could 'accidentally' cut and paste code from another application into the correct parts of his own, changing variables to suit his code, and then releasing it as his own work. It is not a simple slip-up.. more a deliberate act. How could this possibly be an honest mistake? If that wasn't enough proof, have you ever tried to cut and paste between two applications in Linux? ;-) I suppose a junior programmer could have done it as well and a senior project manager could have released the app without knowing but that doesn't make it any less wrong

      I think it is far more likely that someone saw this as an easy and cheap way to shorten their development cycle. They most likely didn't realise they would get caught - the opportunity to steal the work as well as the temptation are both a large part of this sort of theft.

      Imagine how you would feel if you spent years developing something , in collaboration with others, freely allowing others to learn from it and contribute as long as they acknowledged your part and re-invested their knowledge once they had learned from yours. Then someone comes along on a payroll, sees much money for no work, grabs your work and changes the credits. This is more like what happened here.

      If you still think that this could be a simple slip-up, try going into you favourite text editor with two different documents open at the same time, each a few pages long. Pick five words in one document, and change them each to an arbitrary word from the other document. Then remove any comments that might imply that this belongs to someone else. Cut out a few sentences you don't like, then re-read it and check it still makes sense.

      This is fairly analogous to taking a page of code, changing a few of 'their' variable to the ones you need, stripping some evidence, changing a small amount of it then debugging to check you haven't upset any of the inner workings. Now this is just for one page of work to be taken - the likelihood is that it would be much more.

      • Not complying with the GPL means they just had no rights to redistrubute the code, since the GPL is only terms of redistribution. They cannot be forced to accept the GPL. They were in violation of normal old copyright laws.

        Releasing their code is one option they could choose, or they could choose to comply with the GPL and get the rights to redistribution it gives.

        You have been listening to too much MS FUD if you think companies can be compelled to release source just because they did not comply with the GPL.
      • Someone may have created sample code based on the GPL code, the sample code may have grown into a prototype, and from there it may have blossomed into the release that was.

        All of this could have happened and transitioned through a half dozen people, a manager or two, a couple programmers, etc.

        And the license may have been inadvertantly forgotten about (and left out of the tempalte code)...

        don't get paranoid.
      • Spitzak said it properly here []. They don't have to release the source. They merely have to stop violating the license, and one of those methods is to remove the software from distribution.

        Frankly, it's entirely possible that the GPL was misunderstood -- since there are disagreements as to exactly what it means in some cases (such as dynamic linking). A library could've been used without the senior developer or project manager realizing that it was GPL and not LGPL.

        Did they violate it? Yup. And they're doing the right thing. Sorry you have an issue with that.

        Then someone comes along on a payroll, sees much money for no work, grabs your work and changes the credits. This is more like what happened here

        You have absolutely no idea what "happened here". In fact, the FSF has stated that Epson is doing the right thing and has actually gone well beyond what is required to work toward a fix. Frankly, they could've just stonewalled (like virtually every other violator has done) or said "fine, we'll just pull it and say screw it". Instead they admitted to an inadvertant mistake (and yes, they happen -- if you don't think so, then you clearly have no experience with large companies and real world coding), publicly admitted to it, and are actively trying to remedy the situation and continue providing the software.

        Quite frankly, your attitude is exactly what Microsoft portrays when demonizing the GPL. As a software developer I sure as hell wouldn't touch GPL'd software with a 10 foot pole if it meant that a mistake would mean giving up my core business logic. Hell, I wouldn't even develop for Linux because of the attitude associated with it.

        Fortunately, the vast majority of people seem to actually comprehend the GPL and see Epson as doing the Right Thing. So there's still hope for the non-frothing Linux advocates.
    • And the zealots are wrong. They have no rights to the source code.

      The only "rule" is that Epson cannot give away or sell the software without this source code. They currently took the solution of not distributing the software at all.

      I expect either somebody at Epson will realize that whatever part they have is not so valuable and they can give out the source code, or they will quickly write a replacement that does not use their secret algorithim and thus does not work so well, or (most likely) whoever already granted exceptions to the GPL license on this code (it is allowed to be plugged into closed-source programs according to an earlier email) will add this as an exception as well.

      I personally feel that a block of code as described could be closed-source without harming things, as long as the interface is very limited and it is clear what it does. For instance if it takes a block of pixel values read from the scanner and processed it and rewrote the block with the cleaned-up image, this is pretty clear and easily replaced. If instead it talked directly to the scanner or decoded a block of data such as encrypted stuff from the scanner, I would consider that a bad idea. Maybe it should be allowed if they also write an open-source replacement that "works" but is not as good, for instance my first example could be replaced with code that returns immediately without changing the buffer. The second example could not be replaced with anything. Maybe there is some way to make a modified GPL where such modules are allowed. It has to be worded very carefully so the closed-source parts can be replaced easily.

  • by bkuhn ( 41121 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:12PM (#4241291) Homepage
    Epson has been negotiating in good faith with us to bring their product into compliance with the terms of the GNU GPL and LPGL. We are moving as fast as we can to assist them in their efforts to comply, but with our limited resources we can only move so fast. We hope that the matter will be resolved soon.

    Epson has been much more friendly than most violators. Epson on their own chose to put up that web page and admit their violation publicly. We did not require them to do so. Almost always, compliance is reached through private discussions between the Free Software Foundation and the violating party. Only rarely (usually because a third party posts on slashdot ;) does the public even become aware of the compliance efforts underway.

    You can read FSF's General Counsel's essay for more details on FSF's GNU GPL enforcement efforts [].

    Bradley M. Kuhn, Executive Director, Free Software Foundation

    • by rlk ( 1089 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:39PM (#4241463)
      I'm not at all surprised to hear that Epson is negotiating in good faith with the FSF, and has chosen to go above and beyond what the FSF asked for (publicly admitting their violation and working to resolve it). In my own experience (as project lead of Gimp-Print [], I have found Epson to be far more clued-in about working with the free software community than other printer vendors that I have come across.

      In our case, it's evident that they understand that what we want is access to information about how their printers work, rather than information (such as details of their color management) that they quite legitimately consider proprietary. Because of that, it has been much easier for us to track their printers, and as a result their printers enjoy top notch support within our project. Perhaps more directly relevant to this, they have not used their project (PIPS) as an excuse to starve ours of data.
      So I'm certainly pleased (but not at all surprised) to see Epson acting with such high ethical standards under these circumstances, too.
  • GPL (Score:5, Funny)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:12PM (#4241296)
    From: S.B.
    To: B.G.
    Subject: New FUD Needed

    I'm agonized to have to inform you that the usual anti-GPL FUD we've been foistering upon the world has once again been discredited. Epson corporation was found to have violated the GPL in the company's Linux based proprietary scanning application, and had merely to remove the offending code from the application. Unfortunately for us, no FSF lawsuit was filed to force Epson to give away its I.P. as we've been claiming for some time would happen in cases of GPL violations. Those damned hippies just politely asked Epson to correct the situation.

    We should wake up the slugs...err...public relations department and have them think up new anti-GPL lies...err...messages.


    On a serious note, this is exactly how companies -should- act when found to be violating the GPL. Just admit that it happened, correct the violation, and everyone is happy. Nobody gets sued, the company gets a round of applause for playing nice, and life goes on. Congratulations Epson! You're a model of corporate integrity.
  • Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:39PM (#4241461) Homepage
    Wow! epson happily respects and complies with the GPL! they just won another loyal customer! AGFA,Cannon and HP can all sit aside while my next new Linux scanner will be an Epson!

    If we dont support the companies that not only release a Linux program/driver but also respect the GPL then we all might as well just give up and install XP like good drones.

    Kudos to Epson!
  • When the GPL denies users access to something useful, because it generates the impression that the GPL is anti-user. (Trolls and dumb modders, note that I didn't say the GPL was anti-user, but that these types of incidents create that impression).

    This is unfortunately the kind of thinking Microsoft would love to perpertuate and here they didn't have to raise a finger or spend a cent.

    Just providing a viewpoint from outside the GNU rules! Linux-uber-alles camp...
  • Free Advertising? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstaines ( 607930 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:47PM (#4241516) Homepage
    Until I read this on slashdot. I didnt even know that Epson had written any scanner software for Linux. Next time I go to buy a scanner, I'll now seriously consider Epson. That is providing their Linux products come back into action. Any publicity is good publicity?? G.
    • Well, I didn't know that Epson had their own software for Linux. That's cool, and I'll certainly check it out when they sort out the GPL thing... but I've got an Epson 1240u scanner which works just great under Linux with the SANE software that comes with most distributions.

      SANE is very nice - integrates with the GIMP, so you can scan directly into the GIMP, plus has a standalone scanner app, does color correction and all the other basic stuff you'd expect.
  • I've never used the Epson-produced / labeled software, but XSane is one of the best, easiest scanning programs I've ever seen / used.

    And since I think most software interfaces are terrible, maybe it's just that I'm a dummy with exactly umgekehrt tastes in software, but what exactly does / did the Epson software do better?

    • For one thing, iscan (ImageScan!) is simpler and friendlier. Ease of use is crucial, especially when I want to share my scanner with novices. Xsane's UI (like many open source UIs) is clunky by comparison. The other reason is that there is some image enhancement going on in there. Pictures come out looking sharper and with richer colors than in xsane. Now, it is probably possible to get equivalent picture quality from xsane after a lot of work in Gimp, but do you expect me to ask a novice to figure that out?

      The other attraction is that hilarious picture of a penguin stuffed into a scanner with its butt in the air and its flattened face appearing on the computer screen. Shows they have a sense of humor.
  • Good Job, Epson! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dunkalis ( 566394 )
    I bought my Canon S520 before I had converted to Linux, and it worked great, but when I installed Linux, it was a NIGHTMARE to make it work. It took hours in SuSE, Lycoris, and Debian.

    Next printer I get will be an Epson. I was considering an HP, but after canning Bruce Perens and Epson being nice to the Linux community, I'll make sure I get an Epson next time around.

    Now, if other companies saw that playing nice got you more customers, they'd do it!
  • Ok. Thats it. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by THEbwana ( 42694 )
    Judging from the way Epson deals with GPL/opensource and Linux I made the decision that my next printer will be an Epson. Even though they made a mistake - they seem to be attempting to correct it and Im sure that there will be a good solution to this shortly. /m
  • The third solution for Epson (that nobody seems to have mentioned) would be to negotiate a private license with the project which released the GPLd code.

    This would allow Epson to release their product as "closed source" and would provide funding to the original project.

    The GPL (as I understand it) doesn't require that the only licence that the software be available under be the GPL. IIRC, Perl is released under both the GPL and BSD, the choice is up to the user which licence he wants to follow.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"