Re: Copyright of Modified Ispell Code

Subject: Re: Copyright of Modified Ispell Code
From: Aaron Lehmann (
Date: Thu Jul 05 2001 - 23:27:41 CDT

On Fri, Jul 06, 2001 at 12:17:02AM -0400, Kevin B. Hendricks wrote:
> Hi,
> > It seems pretty clear to me. The files in src/other/spell/xp/ have the
> > "original Ispell license".
> Those files have been modified from the original ispell release by your
> developers and the file newMain.c has been added and does not have any
> license info in it at all.

> So I guess the question becomes, are all of those modifications to ispell
> GPL, LGPL, or something else.

Since the files have a license at the top of them, I think it's safe
to say that is their license. As for newMain.c, that's probably GPL.

> Hmm, that is a problem for GPL? Are you sure? What about LGPL? Does anyone
> know?

Dynamically linking Ispell with LGPL'd software is fine. Statically -
I'm not sure.

> Are you sure about the advertising clause? Lots of BSD code with similar
> clauses are integrated into many projects.

And in many cases illegally :-(. Look at the mess AbiWord has now.

> Since the only person mentioned in the advertising clause is Geoff, perhaps
> we can get him to wave the use of his name for non-profit projects like ours.
> I don't think anyone would have a problem with saying just:
> ? "?This product includes software developed by unpaid contributors"
> which is certainly true of all of our projects! ;-)

That's definately incompatible with the GPL, and I doubt it works with
the LGPL either. You may be able to get by with it, but it's ugly and
pollutes the licensing of the code.

> It might be worth a try. If that works and is compatible with LGPL and your
> changes to ispell are LGPL'd or BSD'd then Kevin Atkinson could make an
> ispell module for both of us to use (with your changes to ispell) and the
> whole thing could be LGPL'd which should be perfectly legal for you to link
> too.

Perhaps Atkinson could make an exception in the pspell license to
explicitly allow loading dynamic modules under any license. This is
what Linux does, to the horror of RMS. It may be too late for Atkinson
to change his licensing, though.

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