Subject: Re: GNU question - can I plain copy documentation ?
To: None <>
From: Bill Studenmund <>
List: current-users
Date: 10/17/1997 09:20:18
On Thu, 16 Oct 1997, Zdenek Salvet wrote:

> > It's a sanity question, but anyway ...
> > Can I distribute product under license other than GPL if I use parts
> > of documentation of some GNU tool ? i.e. if I would do readline wrapper,
> > can I use parts of readline documentation for describing the functionality ?
> > I think it would be okay, but I'm not quite sure.
> No, see:
>                   GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE

[terms below]

There are two problems here. One is if your readline wrapper is
non-GPL'able. The other is if you can distribute the docs. I think you can
do what you asked about above, but you have to do it carefuly.

To have your wrapper GPL-free you'd have to have used none of the code
from the GPL'd source. Otherwise you'd be caught by section 2b below.

The other question is about the docs. You certainly can't un-GPL them. But
you might be able to distribute them. I think you'd need to distribute
them as a seperate item. For instance, if they end up in a seperate sub
directory, you might be able to say, "My program's here, and there's some
extra documentation over there." A seperate tar file definitly would do

Take care,


>   0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
> a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed
> under the terms of this General Public License.  The "Program", below,
> refers to any such program or work 
> ....
> 2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
> of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
> distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1
> above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:
> ...
> b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
>     whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
>     part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
>     parties under the terms of this License.
>             ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^