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Including the output of a GPLed program in an FDL-licensed info file?

From: James Youngman
Subject: Including the output of a GPLed program in an FDL-licensed info file?
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2007 15:27:56 +0000


I'd like to iron out a small wrinkle in licensing, involving a small
number of files in two different GNU projects (findutils and gnulib).
 I'd be glad of your advice in doing this.

The gnulib project includes a regex implementation.  That
implementation provides a header file, gnulib/lib/regex.h.   It's
licensed as LGPLv2+.    That file is included in GNU findutils, which
is GPLv3+.   So far, straighforward and no problem.

The findutils package runs a program, lib/regexprops.c, as part of the
build process.   Not only is the file compiled, but the resulting
program is also run.  The output of that program is a Texinfo file,
regexprops.texi.   That file describes the properties of the various
dialects of regular expression made available by the gnulib
implementation.    That program contains a lot of printf statements
which contain English text.   That text is ultimately derived from
comments in the gnulb regex.h file, with much editorial work by me and
lots of extra wording.

When the findutils documentation is built (from find.texi, producing
find.info and find.dvi), this generated file regexprops.texi is
included.   The findutils documentation is published under GNU FDL1.2+
(and also includes perm.texi, itself also under the FDL1.2+ license).

So essentially

regex.h (LGPLv2+) + regexprops.c (GPLv3+) --used to build-->
regexprops.texi (license unstated, yet)
regexprops.texi (license unstated) + perm.texi (FDL1.2+) + find.texi
(FDL1.2+) ---> find.info, find.dvi (FDL1.2+)

So regexprops.texi is the result of an automatic process involving
only GPLv3+ and LGPLv3+ sources.   Under what license should the
regexprops.texi file be published?   FDL1.2+ seems sensible.   If so,
how should the text of the copyright statements about regexprops.c be
worded?    Should, for example, the program state that the program
itself is GPLv3+ but its output is FDL1.2+?  Is that workable?   Will
this approach end up making some types of useful derived work
un-distributable by parties other than the FSF?

I guess this point is not that relevant, but gnulib itself contains a
file called regexprops-generic.texi, which resulted originally from
generating regexprops.texi once and then editing it by hand quite a
bit.   Although findutils uses gnulib and therefore some gnulib code
is distributed within findutils, the file regexprops-generic.texi is
not itself distributed with findutils.

Fortunately, copyright in all these components is owned by the FSF, so
I am confident we can figure out a working solution, but I don't want
to accidentally deny important freedoms to people receiving a copy of
these files.    Please advise on the best choice of license for
regexprops.c.   I attach the program for your reference, but you might
also want to examine the CVS repository for findutils at


Attachment: regexprops.c
Description: Text Data

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