License mess

Ante Wessels vitanova2 at
Tue Mar 16 12:29:54 GMT 2004


The illustrator sources for the Crystal icons are under an other license than 
the icons themselves. This will lead to serious problems.

The read me:

"The files found in this directory represent (95%) the work that Everaldo 
Coehlo did for SUSE Linux and other distibutions. All files are released per 
LGPL, except the AI files, which are, per request from Mr. Coehlo, released 
with the Artistic 2 license.

The AI files represent a a subset of the SVGs also included in this directory
because some of the files in already_checked_into_kde are older ie. I simply
copied the files from kdelibs - so the files might already have been edited.

It is common knowledge that all elements of an icon set have to be under the 
same license. If not, you have to keep track of all licenses for all the 
icons, some can be used by companies in their applications, some not, 
elements from some icons can be used in some other icons, not in others. The 
administrative overhead will drive anyone nuts, people will shy away from the 
set because of the license mess. One icon set - one license. In this case, 
some versions of the same icon are under one license, other versions under an 
other. A total mess!

Companies like IBM and SUN may start to use Yast and make icons 
for own modules. What will happen? They download the illustrator files, hire 
designers and work with the files. Since the illustrator files are under 
the Artistic2, the resulting icons will be too. KDE will have to ask those 
companies for permission to use the icons under the lgpl (with add-on). IBM 
will give that permission, hopefully, but will every company be that cool, 
and what effort will it take? 

Placing the sources under the Artistic2 is done to give Everaldo more control, 
I understand. It will not be the result. Everaldo, suse, kde, will have no 
control at all, it will be the other way around...

There will be icons out there under the Artistic license. Each time kde has to 
track the exact origin of the icon, under what license is it? - the problem 
sketched above.

Someone or a company may design cool Crystal icons that never end up in KDE, 
and to prevent a license mess, not even in Suse. Suse sponsored the icons, but 
may end up not being able to use all offspring. Not an effective use of 

One of the strengths of the lgpl is that it keeps icons free, so kde can 
always use Crystal icons, whatever the origin - just grab it back. That was a 
very strong reason in choosing the lgpl - keeping visual consistency. That 
strength is now broken...

There are 2 possibilities to do it right:
 - put the sources under the lgpl. There will be no license problem. One thing 
that could happen though, is that artists develop the illustrator sources 
further, draw pixel icons from these sources. This will not help the 
development of the svg sourcebase.
 - use a more restrictive license. Only allow svg sources to be made out of 
them, that have to be placed under the license for the Crystal icons as found 
in kdelibs/pics/LICENSE.crystalsvg. This helps building the svg sourcebase, 
the initial and ultimate goal. To this can be added that copies of the svgs 
have to be sent to Everaldo and Suse.

Unfortunately, a solution has been chosen that is harmful.



The most up to date info for kde artists can be found at the wiki:

Scripts for kde artists, like svg2png4kde, add border, add drop shadow, change 
filename, file conversion:

Web course italian, poem generator, poetry, stories and visual art:

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