License Issue

Thomas Leonard tal00r at
Fri Mar 26 15:00:25 EET 2004

On Thu, Mar 25, 2004 at 06:31:56PM +0100, Guillaume Desnoix wrote:
> Hi,
> First I really appreciate all the work done to clarify/unify our (free) 
> desktops.
> Back on the mimetype archive,
> can I write non-GPL'ed code implementing the mime spec ?


> can I use/distribute the mimetype database with non-GPL'ed code ?

If you distribute a modified version of the MIME database (eg, you edit
update-mime-database.c), you'll have to offer your modified version under
the same license. The same is true if you modify the
file (mainly because tracking down all the contributors would be a lot of
work for us).

Normally, you'd provide an additional package.xml file rather than
modifying the one.

You don't have to release programs which just call update-mime-database or
use the results under the GPL.

Probably, output files like 'globs' count as derived works from, so if you're distributing pre-compiled ones (eg, in a
Linux distribution) you might want to check that your package.xml can be
safely merged with GPL stuff. Then again, you probably wouldn't
pre-compile anyway... (and non-free package.xml files don't sound useful

(usual I-am-not-a-lawyer disclaimer applies)

Thomas Leonard
tal00r at	tal197 at
GPG: 9242 9807 C985 3C07 44A6  8B9A AE07 8280 59A5 3CC1

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