Subject: Re: Copyright issues
Date: Sat, 04 Jul 1998 10:05:11 -0300


I'm largely ignorant of Gimp, so I'm not sure this is relevant.  I
send it in case it proves to be.

I recently exchanged email with RMS asking about the implications of
GPL in a system like EROS (our operating system).  EROS makes it
possible to take an application and package it as an instanceable
object.  Assume, for the moment, that we release all of the wrapper
code under GPL, but stick the app behind a process boundary and invoke
it via an RPC-like interface.

At that point, the GPL'd application takes on many of the attributes
of a library, and one must ask what it means for an application to be
"derived" in such a context.  Is this any different from, say,
building a proprietary IDE that invokes GCC under the covers.

RMS's basic response was that he'ld know derivation when he saw it,
and we would have to cross that bridge when there was a specific
example at hand.

The courts, I think, will take a different view.  Derivation has a
fairly well-defined legal meaning.

So why did I think this might be relevant?

You have spoken of "plugins".  Not knowing anything about Gimp, I take 
this to mean some sort of dynamically loadable binary module?

If this is so, there is really nothing in the (L)GPL that can stop
someone from creating a compatible runtime environment for the module
and then simply using those modules.  The modules are GPL'd, but this
need not imply that the runtime must be.