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Re: GPL and nib files
Re: GPL and nib files
Thu, 18 Dec 2003 18:55:10 +0000 (GMT)
On Thu, 18 Dec 2003, PUYDT Julien wrote:
> On jeu, 2003-12-18 at 03:08, Jesse Hammons wrote:
> > On a related note, are nib files considered code or data? I am making
> > an application that runs on GNUStep and Cocoa. The code for this
> > application is GPL (because I am using someone else GPL code for part
> > of the functionality). I would like to restrict distribution of the
> > nib files (which were created by myself only). I am wondering if this
> > would violate the requirement for distributing "complete source code."
> > What about images, sounds, icons and similar types of materials? If I
> > combine GPL code with proprietary data, and ship resulting binary, is
> > that a violation of the GPL? If I provide access to the source code
> > for a version of the application that is completely equal in
> > functionality (same code) but uses generic images does that qualify as
> > being the "preferred form of the work for making modifications to it?"
IMHO .nib files would qualify as data. I wouldn't have any doubts
if the file format/encoding was documented and could be used by
different OpenStep implementations (without modification).
Data by itself is not a derivative work, and is therefore not
covered by the GPL.
If the .nib was created for a non-GPL product, and you use it for a
GPL-programme, it is obviously no derivative work of the GPL-programme.
Therefore it doesn't have to be under the GPL-license and doesn't have
to be included.
> Would your program still compile without the nib? If not, then it
> probably is part of it.
> Is the nib something independant from your program? If not, then it's
> probably part of it.
To both points: probably, but not neccessarily.
Let's consider implementing a game that uses Doom3-maps and sound-files.
It's useless without the maps and sound-files, maybe it even won't
compile without it. But that doesn't suddenly requires the maps to
So if the .nib were developed without being specifically used ONLY by
GNUstep, and/or if they were there before the GNUstep-application was
being developed, you might consider them a non-derivative work.
> On a similar note, I seem to remember that D.Colnet was a little
> hesitant to release the now-called smarteiffel compiler under the gpl,
> and releases the sources as C sources. RMS then asked him if those where
> really the sources he worked with, the answer was no: he was using the
> eiffel sources, and the se compiler turned them into C, that gcc turned
> into an executable. We now have those eiffel sources, which are the real
Most people misunderstand the GPL. The GPL doesn't require/force you
to re-release your proprietary code into GPL if you violate it.
It just says: if you are distributing GPL'd code, you have to make it's
sources accessible aswell. And if you want to distribute the code with
any modifications to it (derivative work), the modification must be
released under the terms of the GPL aswell, otherwise you will violate
copyright law, since you don't obey the GPL agreement.
By not publishing the source code of you modifications you
violate the original GPL licence (agreement), and hence you now have no
longer the right to modify/distribute the original GPL code.
You may be sued by the copyright holders of the GPL-programme, and
then you might have to pay money (if you don't choose to solve the issue
by releasing your modifications under the terms of the GPL or by any
other means, ie. making arrangements with the copyright holder).
However you won't be forced to release your modifications under the terms
of the GPL by court order. It's entirely up to you how you resolve the
So in your example D. Colnet resolved the issue by releasing the
real smart-eiffel sources under the terms of the GPL. I assume
he couldn't make any other arrangements that would have suited
the copyright holder (in this case probably the FSF/RMS amongs others).
He also could have done nothing and being sued, and then he
would have ended up paying (lots of) money.