Hey folks it's time to ask the internet for legal advice. If I include GPL'd source code in a project but never compile or execute it, does that trigger the virality, or is it "mere aggregation"?

What if I pull said code from the Sourceforge repository at runtime and tell the user to delete it within 48 hours

What happens with the downloaded code? Does it get used in the program? Are they building it themselves? Why would they need to delete it?

...or is this just a joke that's gone over my head?

@rainwarrior I just want my hacker-typer thing to look slightly more authentic

@mogwai_poet So you want to use the visual representation of some GPL source code as a thematic element, without it actually being executed in any way?


@mogwai_poet @rainwarrior Interesting gray area. I agree that it may be easier to just find something with an easier license at that point.

@max @mogwai_poet Hrm, well I think that's fine by the spirit of LGPL, as long as they can edit that source and its license is included somewhere.

For GPL I think it is against the spirit of it, but it's probably grey enough to give you a good angle to argue it in court, i.e. good chance you could "get away with it".

@max @mogwai_poet Though TBH plenty of direct GPL violations get away with it.

@max @mogwai_poet The official FAQ seens to summarize how grey area it is:

"This is a legal question, which ultimately judges will decide."


I think this territory is deliberately vague to give the FSF a chance to argue that it applies as aggressively as they can. This is also part of why I think what you're proposing breaks the GPL in spirit. This should be covered by their goal to extend Copyleft as far as it can by this license.

@rainwarrior @max Yeah right now I'm using the Eldritch source which is zlib licensed, which I think is ok? If not I'll just ask David for permission :)

@mogwai_poet @max zlib would be totally fine with that, but yes asking the author to explicitly license something differently for you could be an option. (Unless showing the license itself is part of the kink here.)

@rainwarrior @max I am definitely considering having the first thing you type be the license

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Smeap is the honk of a flamingo. Smeap was also at least once, a storybook land at the weird intersection of TV ads and the worlds they seem to inhabit. It was a place where wars were fought over sodas, and talking polar bears had very good reasons to guard soda machines. It was a place where rainbow color candies were harvested for electric power. It was a place where a prairie dog might move to big city inhabited mostly by Pink Flamingos to follow her dream to be private investigator, only to get slowly entangled in the seedy underbelly of crime and prohibited soda trading of the Neon Flamingos and their syndicate. Social media at times lately feels like it has become almost entirely seedy underbelly with very little upside. Maybe it needs more storybook worlds.