[vlc-devel] Re: GPL issues ( was: Re: How can add a new codec module to VLC?)

Dermot McGahon dermot at dspsrv.com
Thu May 20 16:36:11 CEST 2004

On Thu, 20 May 2004 15:15:17 +0200, Derk-Jan Hartman  
<hartman at videolan.org> wrote:

> And the opinion of the Authors of VideoLAN has always been very clear. A  
> completely Free and Open Source program in it's strictest meaning.


You know what I'm working on, unicast and multicast udp streaming of
mpeg2-ts from Kasenna vod servers.

If we were to use vlc for this, obviously any changes to vlc would be
made public as it is gpl and any changes to Live would be public (if
only as patchset against a known revision) as it is lgpl.

This would be only part of a larger system though, basically you could
call it a distribution (it is entertainment touchscreen based system
for hospital bedsides). As long as the gpl and lgpl code was public,
and the resulting vlc/live combination was exec'd, or controlled through
stdin from a named pipe or somesuch, by the rest of the system, would
this meet the vlc definition of 'completely Free and Open Source'.

The biggest problem for us might actually be if we invest a lot of time
and effort into a snazzy gui which then has to be gpl'd and available
to all our competitors. This could even be a reason for us to drop vlc,
mplayer, altogether, and implement a much reduced functionality media
player using only proprietary and lgpl code. I'm not looking for
forward to implementing such a beast though, certainly not as a sole
developer. I think it's a very big job.

We obtain a lot of benefit from using open source software. We want to
contribute back to the community where we can. That said, we can't
afford to allow the gpl to virally infect many years of proprietary
hard work, especially in a competitive commercial environment.

We get commercial interest in our product from people who are sick
and tired of paying Windows licence fees. Being able to build this
product without these licence fees is a big advantage to us. Everyone
is using pretty much the same commodity h/w, so it's really only on
the s/w side that we can make these types of services profitable for
operators in the hospitals.

I think this case is very much in keeping with the licences. I don't
even think it's "to the letter" but "against the spirit" of either
gpl (for vlc) or lgpl (for live), but I would appreciate your
personal opinion (and anybody else who would be kind enough to

Warm Regards,

Dermot McGahon.

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