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geda:license [2012/02/20 15:14] (current)
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 +
 +====== gEDA Licensing ======
 +
 +All software components of gEDA/gaf are released under the 
 +[[ http://​www.gnu.org/​licenses/​old-licenses/​gpl-2.0.html | GNU General Public
 +License (GPL) version 2 or later]]. ​  ​However,​ some confusion exists about
 +the schematic symbols. ​ What license do they use? Will GPL symbols
 +"​infect"​ your design, thereby requiring you to release your design to
 +the public? If you modify the symbols, ​ must you release the modified
 +versions under the GPL?  ​
 +
 +The goal of the gEDA Project is to provide an open-source EDA Suite
 +which may be used for non-commercial as well as commercial projects.
 +Our tools are aimed for use by students, hobbyists, educators, consultants,​
 + and -- yes -- corporate engineers. ​ We are not interested
 +in exerting any control over your designs, or forcing you to reveal
 +proprietary information contained in your designs.
 +
 +Symbols are similar to the font files used in document
 +processing software -- they are graphical objects used to express your
 +ideas. ​ We want you to retain control of your own ideas (your design),
 +while the gEDA Project retains a say in how you redistribute the
 +symbols themselves.
 +
 +There are three ways a symbol might be distributed:​
 +
 +  - As part of a symbol library, or individually as a .sym file (i.e. as a symbol itself).
 +  - Embedded in a .sch file (i.e. part of the soft, or editable copy of a design).
 +  - The resulting graphical expression on a schematic diagram (i.e. as part of the hard, or non-editable copy of a design).
 +
 +There is a distinction between cases 1 and (2, 3).  In case 1, the
 +object of interest is the symbol library (or individual symbol)
 +itself. ​ In case (2, 3), the object of interest is the design.
 +Some label case 1 "​distribution",​ and case (2, 3) "​use"​ of the symbol.
 +
 +Our goals for the symbols are:
 +
 +  * We wish to distribute the symbols under a licencing scheme which encourages that you give back to the community if you redistribute the the symbols themselves -- whether modified or unmodified. ​ This is case 1 distribution. ​ The GPL ensures this.
 +
 +  * We wish to specifically prohibit anybody from building gEDA's symbols into their *software* products, and then place restrictions on how the resulting product may be used.  If you bundle gEDA symbols-- whether modified or unmodified -- into your software and then distribute it, then you must allow for the software'​s (and symbols'​) continued redistribution under the GPL.  Again, this is case 1 distribution;​ the GPL ensures this.
 +
 +  * However, we do not wish to "​infect"​ your *electronic* design, or force you to release your proprietary design information if you use or embed gEDA symbols in your design. ​ This is case (2, 3) use.
 +
 +The Free Software Foundation has recognized a possible conflict of
 +the base GPL with the use of fonts -- and, by analogy, symbols used in
 +case (2, 3).  Their solution is to use an exemption clause in the GPL
 +which you explicitly insert for fonts. ​ Read about it here:
 +
 +[[http://​www.fsf.org/​licensing/​licenses/​gpl-faq.html#​FontException | http://​www.fsf.org/​licensing/​licenses/​gpl-faq.html#​FontException]]
 +
 +Therefore, using this as a template, all symbols released with
 +gEDA/gaf are covered under the GPL with the following exception clause:
 +
 +  As a special exception, if you create a design which uses this symbol,
 +  and embed this symbol or unaltered portions of this symbol into the
 +  design, this symbol does not by itself cause the resulting design to
 +  be covered by the GNU General Public License. This exception does not
 +  however invalidate any other reasons why the design itself might be
 +  covered by the GNU General Public License. If you modify this
 +  symbol, you may extend this exception to your version of the
 +  symbol, but you are not obligated to do so. If you do not
 +  wish to do so, delete this exception statement from your version.
 +
 +The idea is that case 1 redistribution is covered under the GPL, but
 +distribution of your design (case (2, 3) is exempt from the GPL.
 +This is the scheme which the gEDA Project wishes to use for symbol
 +distribution and use.
  
geda/license.txt ยท Last modified: 2012/02/20 15:14 (external edit)