Wireshark-dev: Re: [Wireshark-dev] RFD: New language to write dissectors
From: Jeff Morriss <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:40:36 -0400
On 07/14/2012 06:31 PM, Guy Harris wrote:
On Jul 14, 2012, at 8:26 AM, Jakub Zawadzki wrote:

It'd be great if we have some abstract and pure (no C/assembly inline) language to write dissectors.
[...]

On the other hand, it might also allow protocol descriptions to be
shipped either in source form or binary form with restrictions on
redistribution, providing a way to "get around the GPL" for protocols.
Some might consider that a feature (I seem to remember many years ago
Cisco raised this issue about some protocols) and others might consider
it a bug. If we end up with a consensus of "it's a bug", we might be
able to extend the protections of the GPL to dissector descriptions fed
to the interpreter, so that if you make a "compiled" protocol
description available, you must also make the source available to
recipients and must give recipients the right to redistribute the source
or binaries.
I'd tend to think that would be a bug.

This reminds me of the struggles I've had recently getting people to contribute their diameter.xml changes to Wireshark. They're able to just add the stuff they need and they don't change versions (or computers) often enough to care so they haven't felt the need to get the changes in.
Having an editable XML file is great for local modifications but it does 
lower the "urge" to get the changes checked into the Wireshark trunk. 
Lowering the barrier to adding dissectors would likely have a similar 
effect.  And I think part of what has made Wireshark great (from a 
user's perspective) is that it supports so many protocols out of the 
box; it supports so many protocols because it's easy to write them and 
get them included in Wireshark's repository.
(I'm not saying this is a reason to not support such a feature, I'm just 
putting the thought out there.)