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Re: Who uses Octave?

From: Juan Pablo Carbajal
Subject: Re: Who uses Octave?
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 10:37:48 +0100

On Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM, Michael Goffioul
<address@hidden> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 8:16 AM, Julien Salort <address@hidden> wrote:
>> Michael Goffioul <address@hidden> writes:
>>>> - Hardware I/O: I'm not sure how easy it it to talk to simple analog and
>>>> digital I/O cards but
>>>> haven't heard a lot of success stories yet. The main OS of my students is
>>>> Windows, other OS are <
>>>> 10% I would guess.
>>> This has been mentioned a couple of times before. The main problem
>>> there seems to be the cross-platform issue.
>> I use  Octave in my  daily work to  communitate with several  NI devices
>> (GPIB card, DAQmx card) using  NI-VISA and NI-DAQmx libraries. I've been
>> running  my  code   on  Mac  OS  X,  Windows  and   now  Linux.   It  is
>> cross-platform, as  long as National Instruments  provides libraries for
>> your preferred  platform: no  problem on Windows,  almost no  problem on
>> Macintosh,  tricky  on Linux,  except  if  you  stick to  the  supported
>> distributions (I  had it  work with Scientific  Linux 6.1 but  failed on
>> Debian Squeeze).
>> I'd be willing to publish my code. I'm just not sure if there is a legal
>> issue: as  I understand it, a  GPL program is distributed  in binary and
>> source forms.  However,  if you link against a  proprietary library, the
>> resulting binary cannot be distributed with a GPL license.  Am I right ?
>> Then my problem is the following:
>> - I have no problem to publish the source code of my oct files
>> - Once compiled,  they link against Octave libraries  (GPL) and National
>>  Instruments libraries (proprietary).
>> What license should I choose ?
> Your source code must use a GPLv3-compatible license. Because it is
> intended to be linked against NI library, which is not
> GPLv3-compatible, you can't distribute resulting binaries. OTOH
> nothing prevents you from distributing sources only.
> But as a GPL project, we obviously prefer a fully GPL-compatible
> solution, if there's any. Also you code could not be hosted on
> octave-forge, as we recently decided to host only GPL-compatible
> packages, so you'd have to host your code somewhere else.
> Michael.
> _______________________________________________
> Help-octave mailing list
> address@hidden

I think you can distribute your code under GPLv3, by removing all
content that is not GPL compatible and provide a nice help file
explaining how to use it and compile it (you can even distribute make
The only issue I see, is that since your code wouldn't be functional
in this form, somebody may say it is not a "solution" (though it could
be if there isn't really any free software alternative).

I the case of Linux (I do not know if it works on other platforms):
Can't you use the free drivers from They are
distributed under GPLv2

M. Sc. Juan Pablo Carbajal
PhD Student
University of Zürich

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