[SciPy-user] Re[2]: ANN: Veusz 0.5 - a scientific plotting package

Bob Ippolito bob at redivi.com
Tue Apr 19 20:48:07 CDT 2005

On Apr 19, 2005, at 8:54 PM, Gerard Vermeulen wrote:

> On Tue, 19 Apr 2005 15:28:44 -0400
> Joe Harrington <jh at oobleck.astro.cornell.edu> wrote:
>>> Can I legally distribute sqw.py separately under the BSD (or
>>> some GPL compatible license)?
>>> So why should sqw.py be
>>>> distributed as GPL code in the first place?
>>> Some interpretations of copyright law (e.g. Larry Rosen's) say that 
>>> no,
>>> it doesn't have to. The FSF's, Trolltech's, and Riverbank's say
>>> otherwise.
>> If FSF et al. really say this, they're dreaming.
>> Who says that the "Qt" library that it is going to be run with will be
>> the one they know about?  There are numerous clone products that
>> provide API-compatible functionality under different licenses, and in
>> fact this is the main business of the FSF.  GNU really is Not Unix, in
>> an IP sense, even though many of their program can be and frequently
>> are compiled, linked, and run on UnixTM systems using native
>> compilers and libraries.
>> There is a distinction to be drawn between two types of "modified
>> code".  In the first instance, you take some source code from someone
>> else and modify those actual lines of text.  In the second, your
>> subclass *asks the compiler, linker, or interpreter* to modify or
>> extend something that the compiler defined due to instructions from
>> elsewhere.  The first case is certainly a derived work, and falls
>> under the terms of the parent document.  You used someone else's IP to
>> make something new.  GPL demands that you use GPL to license the
>> derived work.
>> As I understand it, the second is not a derived work *in its source
>> form*, because you didn't start with or include substantial sections
>> of prose or code someone else wrote.
> Let me point out that if you write
> #include <qt.h>
> you are including 2 MByte of code (those headers are copyrighted, so
> they must be IP, isn't it?).
> To me that is equivalent to telling your book printer to include a
> chapter of a book written by somebody else in your book.  Now, if your
> program falls in shatters by removing this single line, you cannot 
> claim
> that your program is no derived work.
> PyQt hides this include statement for you and passes Qt's functionality
> on to Python.  But does this really make a difference?

Yes, it makes a huge difference, if you're distributing *source code*.  
"#include <qt.h>" is merely a reference to something else, like an 
entry in a bibliography.

It doesn't become a derived work until you compile it.  The source code 
in this case is the discussion with your book printer plus the contents 
of the book as you sent it.


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