[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Is this circumvention of the GPL?

From: James Michael DuPont
Subject: Re: Is this circumvention of the GPL?
Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2002 15:04:05 -0800 (PST)

> I guess we need to develop a free graph-layout tool.
> Is there really NO free graph-layout tool?
It turns out that there is a java one that I have not
tried. I don't know how good it is,
I dont use java that often, only resently it has been
available to me via debian and the gcc gjc. 

I do know that the VCG is great for compilers and is
called visualisation compiler graphs. 
It seems that there is a patch for BISON and for GCC
for a VCG output! 
The GUI is a bit outdated, but with the GNOME front
end we could make a really nice system i think.

Other non-gpled are : 

The dotty/graphvis software is from ATT and is

The Davinci system is also not free

There is also a layout tool for circuits Magic
I dont know what the licence is, but the layout will
not be the same :
Magic is a popular integrated circuit
layout tool in common use in universities and a
number of industrial sites.  Magic comes with source
code and a
relaxed copyright that allows you to redistribute it,
modify it, and
generally do what you want with it.
A description of Version 6 is available here.

The Debian project was looking into packaging the VCG
and here is a thread about it.
> Nevertheless, the GPL says the source code is the
preferred format to change
> the program. 
> We can't redistribute this until we get our hands on
the normal source under
> the same license. De-obfuscating the code (which is
permitted by the license) would produce
an ordinary GPL program which we could then
> I hope the author will accept this [releasing normal

In the following thread, someone shows that they can
de-uglify the code. 
VCG has be submitted as free software to the Debian

> I am having trouble understanding the facts that
> people stated about
> the early versions of VCG.  As a result, I cannot
> tell whether they
> were free software or not.

Here is a mail about the VCG output of bison.
a few years back, I talked to RMS about VCG and he
disliked the fact
that in version 1.3x, the layout algorithms are
delivered in uglified
source code. Unfortunately, at that time, I could not
change it. In the current situation, there are various
versions out: 
* VCG         with full readable source code
* VCG 1.30 / Unix:     with readable source code but
uglified source files
                       of the layout part (5 files).
* VCG 1.4x / Windows:  distributed always as binaries,
because Windows people
                       don't care about sources. BTW:
I mean Windows 3.1. It is
                       loooong time ago, Windows 95
did not exist yet.

...... Ommit....
Now, if VCG becomes a GNU project, there may be a
legal issue concerning
aiSee. In principle, I'm willing to give everyone my
latest working version
(VCG, not aiSee) in full sources, but of course I'm
not at all interested
in legal issues related to this. My understanding is
now (and I'm not a lawyer):    VCG is GPL, and
when you base your work on this, I cannot imagine
   any trouble.    VCG was distributed freely,
with good faith under GPL, but the
   fact that it contains uglified source code
contradicts GPL (as RMS told
   me). So I don't know its legal status. Still, I
think if you base your
   works on this, there will not be any trouble.   
VCG 1.6 was never distributed. I'm willing to give
this to you, but I could
   imagine legal trouble, because VCG 1.6 includes
changes of VCG 1.5 which
   is the base for aiSee. If someone wants to take
over VCG, I'd propose to use a different
name for it, e.g. GNU-VCG (gvcg) or something like
that, just to avoid
legal confusion. 

Officially, GNU-VCG should be based on VCG 1.0 or
maybe 1.3.
I'll send you the sources of VCG 1.3 (nonuglified),
and maybe of 1.6, if
legally possible (I don't know yet). 

If someone can make a public repository
for it where people can contribute via net-CVS, then
we should quickly be
at a stage superior to 1.6 again ...


It seems that it was at one time free software. 
Maybe Mr. Sander is willing to follow through and we
can put the VCG on savannah as a GNU project?


James Michael DuPont

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - online filing with TurboTax

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]