On Mon, 15 Jan 2001, Martin Weber <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> I am no GPL expert, but I think it is compatible to GPL, but it does not
> have a plugin interface.
[Lourens Veen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:]
> > But is the license GPL compatible? And is it as flexible as the current
> > plugin system?
> >
[Martin Weber <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:]
> > > There is a very very fast (faster than Photoshop) image loader
> > > called FreeImage:
> > > http://home.wxs.nl/~flvdberg/
> > > With small adoptions it also runs with Linux.

I had a quick look at the FreeImage license, and I am not sure that it
could be GPL-compatible.  The license is available in text format from:
and in HTML format from:

The spirit of this license is similar to the GPL, except that it has
some sections specifically addressing the patents that could protect
this code.

Some things make me think that it could have problems with the GPL:
1) The sections on patents.  It specifically states in sections 2.1.b,
   2.2.b and 3.4 that the initial developer (Floris van den Berg) or
   other contributors may have current or future patents on the
   algorithms or interfaces used in the program.  The rights granted
   on these patents are granted "solely to the extent that any such
   patent is reasonably necessary to enable You to Utilize the [code]
   and not to any greater extent that may be necessary to Utilize
   further Modifications or combinations."  This is probably not
   compatible with the GPL, which forbids you to include any
   discriminations against the free usage of the code.
2) Section 3.1 states that "You may not offer or impose any terms on
   any Source Code version that alters or restricts the applicable
   version of this License or the recipients' rights hereunder."
   This basically prevents you from changing the license, and I think
   that some parts of the GPL could be considered as additional
3) In section 3.2, the minimum amount of time during which the source
   code must be offered to anybody who did not get it together with the
   binaries is shorter than the one required by the GPL.
4) The indemnification clause in section 3.6 seems suspicious to me,
   and contrary to the "no warranty" of the GPL.
5) Section 3.7 is similar to the virus-like feature of the GPL: the
   license must be applied to any larger work containing the covered
   code.  Since both the GPL and the FreeImage license state that all
   of their requirements must be fulfilled by any package including
   the covered code, and since these licenses seem to have incompatible
   requirements, I doubt that we can use any of the FreeImage code.

So I think that we have no other choice than to stay away from the
FreeImage code.  Especially if any part of it is covered by some
patents.  In that case, we should not even look at the code, in order
to be sure that we are not involuntarily including any patented stuff
in the Gimp.

Unless someone who is more qualified than me in legal matters can
certify that the FreeImage license is GPL-compatible, we should not
use any part of it.


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