How To Break The GPL

Ken Arromdee arromdee at
Sun Mar 5 07:11:34 UTC 2000

On Sat, 4 Mar 2000, David Johnson wrote:
> But what does "direct functionality" mean in terms of licensing? I can see
> functionality being added to a GPL application in ways that both would and
> would not violate the GPL. If I wrote a new plugin for Gimp, it would add
> functionality, but would only have runtime linkage. But putting the exact some
> code within the body of the Gimp source code cause it to come under the purview
> of the GPL.

According to RMS, plugins are *also* derivative works, so both your examples
would come under the GPL.  (Which produces the odd result that it is legal
to write a GPL plugin for Internet Explorer but not for Netscape 4, since
Internet Explorer comes under the system component exception.)

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