[WF-General] License stuff. Fun!

John R. Sheets john at metacasa.com
Fri Apr 12 09:10:07 PDT 2002

Karsten Laux wrote:

>Editing a png is fine, if the original just contained one layer, but as soon 
>as the image is composed from several layers, the png is just a rendering 
>without the possibility to edit the image _content_. 
>Content in the case of a layered image is not just the pixel values, but in 
>also provides structure information like layer ordering, layer masks, layer 

Right, but which is truly the product, and which is the process?  To 
move this example closer to coding (where the issues are more familiar 
to most of us), what about code generation tools?  Let's say I'm 
developing a project with a lot of similar objects with similar code. 
 To make maintenance a little easier, I create a custom code generator 
to crank out new objects from templates.  Maybe I have other tools for 
refactoring, e.g., simple search & replace for method/class renaming.

Are the source files I produce with my custom tools (which I might NOT 
choose to release under GPL) any less GPL-able?  They are still editable 
source files.  Anyone can update them, even though their process won't 
be as easy as mine.  Just because my private tool chain exists doesn't 
mean I should be forced to release it under the same license as my 
generated code.  It seems to me that the differences between this 
situation and the layered vs. non-layered image creation are mainly 

OTOH, I do think it's helpful to release all the tools you use, if 
possible.  In the real world, I would certainly release my tool chain 
alongside my generated source code.  I support the idea of releasing 
layered source images, too.  I'm just trying to clarify the discussion 
here, perhaps playing Devil's Advocate a bit.  (c:


john at metacasa.com                          http://www.metacasa.com
dusk at ravendusk.org                       http://www.worldforge.org
jsheets at users.sourceforge.net     http://openbooks.sourceforge.net

                   Writing GNOME Applications

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