GIMP vs. poppler licensing, was: So you want to test an unstable GIMP...

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Thu Sep 1 21:01:37 UTC 2011

On Thu, 2011-09-01 at 21:24 +0100, Dr Andrew John Hughes wrote:

> > > Legal question: is it better to put this in its own subpackage to be
> > > able to specify this individual license, or would GIMP better have
> > > "GPLv3+ and LGPLv3+ and (GPLv2 or GPLv3)" as its license?
> > 
> > if you combine them in a single package then I guess you'll have to drop
> > the '+' from the license, as the non '+' components prevents it.
> > 
> > IANAL of course.
> > 
> IANAL either, but as I read this, the logic being suggested is to list all
> applicable licenses, not one license for the combined whole (which would
> have to be GPLv3 for executables and LGPLv3 for libraries).
> FWIW, a separate package would make the situation clearer.

Also NAL, but I believe Dr. Hughes is right - it does depend on how
'separable' the binary elements of the resulting package are. Say some
of the code is GPLv2 and some is GPLv2+, and they build into two
separately-executable programs which happen to be in the same package,
then 'GPLv2 and GPLv2+' would be an appropriate license tag. But if some
code was GPLv2 and some was GPLv2+, and both bits of code built into a
single binary, the effective license would be GPLv2, because the license
tag on the RPM refers to the compiled code, and there's no way you can
access the GPLv2+ bit separately from the GPLv2 bit.

As I read this specific situation, since you can execute the file-pdf
plugin independently of GIMP, if you were to keep them in a single
package, then the "GPLv3+ and LGPLv3+ and (GPLv2 or GPLv3)" tag would be
appropriate. As everyone else said, a subpackage would probably make
things clearer, but I don't think either is legally 'more valid' or
'safer'. It's worth remembering the License: field in the RPM is
*informational* in nature, it has no particular legal force or
relevance. If you write incorrect information in there it doesn't really
result in any legal issues, it's error that should be

But we should probably just wait for Spot to weigh in. =)
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | adamwfedora

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