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Thread: OBDKey software and the GPL

  1. #1
    VENDOR - ScanTool Vitaliy's Avatar
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    OBDKey software and the GPL

    I split this post from this thread: Anyone with OBD Key software?

    You can, indeed, sell the software for money.

    But...

    The GPL means you also must offer people [to whom you distribute your work] your modifications under the same license as you received permission to redistribute the original work - the GPL. So all it would take it one person to buy your stuff, and they can redistribute it after they get it from you.

    The GPL absolutely doesn't preclude people making money from GPL software. It just precludes you from stopping people from redistributing your modifications to someone else's GPL'd code. Read Stallman's book ["Free as in Freedom"] for a cetechismic covering of this topic.

    Gary (-;
    Gary,

    First of all, let me make one thing clear: I have absolutely nothing to gain by siding with OBDKey on this issue. KBM Systems is ScanTool.net's direct competitor.

    Second, I am familiar with Stallman's works (btw, I consider many of his ideas to be wacky -- but that's a topic for another time ), and our own software is distributed under the GPL (we never made any money from it). However, if you go to freeRTOS.com, you can see for yourself that:

    1. FreeRTOS is provided under the GPL.
    2. OpenRTOS is the same exact code, that is distributed under a commercial license and makes no reference to the GPL (I'm quoting):

    OpenRTOS is FreeRTOS.org provided under a commercial license that makes no reference to the GPL - modified or otherwise.

    I don't know all the details, but it is conceivable that Dana Peters sold the source code for OBDGauge to OBDKey (I know for a fact that he's done it for other companies).

    The GPL absolutely doesn't preclude people making money from GPL software. It just precludes you from stopping people from redistributing your modifications to someone else's GPL'd code.
    Well, exactly! The GPL protects Dana from having his OBDGauge code hijacked by third parties. HOWEVER, Dana can take his software, and provide it under a commercial (non-GPL) license to whomever he chooses.

    Best regards,

    Vitaliy
    OBDLink MX: world's smallest, fastest, most advanced OBD/Bluetooth adapter with SW and MS CAN support. Read the review to learn more.
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  2. #2
    SuperMod - OBDII GPS Logger forum
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    I'm fairly certain that you & I are making the same point, here, just that our understanding of the exact situation at hand differs :-)

    I don't know all the details, but it is conceivable that Dana Peters sold the source code for OBDGauge to OBDKey (I know for a fact that he's done it for other companies).
    Sure. And if the CD from obdkey I have in front of me didn't include the GPL, thereby giving me permission to redistribute it, I wouldn't have. [c.f. SCO].

    For as long as someone owns the copyright, of course they can choose to distribute under multiple licenses. Other noteworthy examples [where "noteworthy" is "things I've personally coded with before"] include Qt [until recently], Open Dynamics Engine, and RTLinux.

    Anyways. If the GPL was included in the disk I have in front of me inadvertently and KBM actually do have a license to keep their modifications closed and stop me from redistributing, I'll pull that link immediately.

    In the original thread, someone asked for the software. I looked at the disk I have, and it grants permission to redistribute, so I posted it for them.

    Gary (-;
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  3. #3
    SuperMod - OBDII GPS Logger forum
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    Oh, and re-reading my previous post, I misread what you said about Dana Peters selling his stuff. My apologies.

    Gary (-;
    OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
    OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
    mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

  4. #4
    VENDOR - ScanTool Vitaliy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chunkyks View Post
    I'm fairly certain that you & I are making the same point, here, just that our understanding of the exact situation at hand differs :-)



    Sure. And if the CD from obdkey I have in front of me didn't include the GPL, thereby giving me permission to redistribute it, I wouldn't have. [c.f. SCO].

    For as long as someone owns the copyright, of course they can choose to distribute under multiple licenses. Other noteworthy examples [where "noteworthy" is "things I've personally coded with before"] include Qt [until recently], Open Dynamics Engine, and RTLinux.

    Anyways. If the GPL was included in the disk I have in front of me inadvertently and KBM actually do have a license to keep their modifications closed and stop me from redistributing, I'll pull that link immediately.

    In the original thread, someone asked for the software. I looked at the disk I have, and it grants permission to redistribute, so I posted it for them.

    Gary (-;
    OK, that makes sense. If KBM's software is indeed based on the GPLed version of OBDGauge, then they should also provide the source for the changes they've made to it -- if anyone asks for it.

    Vitaliy
    OBDLink MX: world's smallest, fastest, most advanced OBD/Bluetooth adapter with SW and MS CAN support. Read the review to learn more.
    Need to look up a diagnostic trouble code? Try the most up-to-date, free DTCsearch.com!

    You cannot send me a private message using this forum. Use my email instead: vitaliy[@]scantool.net.

  5. #5
    Low Bitrate sinclairvital's Avatar
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    OBDKey Software

    I should have replied a while back on this.
    What Dana Peters acheived with OBDGauge was outstanding, and it still remains a classic application today which has not really been bettered as a free download and installation.

    We are working on a new Windows Mobile application to replace OBDGauge as we are finding limitations to what it can do and what our customers expect. It may yet be called "OBDKeyGauge" as I feel we still owe a nod of gratitude to Dana's original work.
    If anyone wants help with Windows Mobile applications for OBDKey hardware, do let me know!
    Sinclair

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