Everaldo keeping kde in lock -- was: K-ARTIST: Icons, scriptsand OSX

Andreas Pour pour at mieterra.com
Thu Jan 15 22:19:25 GMT 2004

Dominique Devriese wrote:

[ ... ]

> Andreas Pour writes:
> > If Everaldo made the original SVG icons, and just releases the PNG
> > versions, there is no GPL violation b/c the SVG were never released
> > under the GPL and hence are not licensed under it.
> > The same would be true if I wrote a KDE program and released the
> > binary under the GPL.  I would be under no obligation to release the
> > source under the GPL.
> Okay, since there seems to be a lot of misconception about this, here
> goes: What constitutes the source of a licensed work is not subject to
> interpretation, the GPL and LGPL clearly define it as follows:
>   The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
>   making modifications to it.
> Please read the license before making any statements to what it does
> or does not mean.  I'm not saying that to imply I'm right about this,
> I'd just like to keep the discussion sane.

Looking at the GPL, here is the way I view it.  And I will stick with the SVG /
PNG example.

Section 0 defines "Program" and the "work" as that which I release under the
GPL.  In my example, it is the PNG icon.

Section 1 says you can copy / distribute the "source code as you receive it" -
which in this case is the PNG icon.

Section 2 says I can modify the PNG, but have to release the modified version
under the GPL.

Section 3 doesn't really apply since a PNG icon is not in "object code or
executable form" (and in this case the conversion from SVG to PNG becomes
interesting in case the SVG were originally under the GPL).  What is missing is
a term that would describe a "binary image" or so (where the image itself is
drawn from some macro-language or other meta-data).

Indeed if the original SVG is released under the GPL, the question is, does
Section 2 or Section 3 of the GPL apply to any PNG icons generated from a
modified version of the SVG?  Section 3 seems to apply only to something in
"object code or executable form", so I would think, as per the logic above, a
PNG icon is neither.  Hence I think you are stuck with Section 2, which would
require you to distribute the PNG icon under the GPL but would not require you
to distribute the modified SVG at all.

For this reason, it probably is not a good idea to license SVG icons under the
GPL (or LGPL) - the FSF itself has said it does not recommend applying the
(L)GPL to non-program-sourcecode situations (such as documentation and art)
"one can determine what the definition of 'source code' refers to in the
particular case" (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#OtherLicenses). 
What they left out is that you should also not use it if a standard format
conversion does not result in "object code or executable form", but instead in
some other considerably less desirable format (for purposes of editing).

The FSF recommends the "Free Art License"
(http://artlibre.org/licence.php/lalgb.html) for art
(http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#OtherLicenses), which seems like
a pretty good license AFAICT.



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