Re: Doxygen for commercial documentation?

Subject: Re: Doxygen for commercial documentation?
From: "Edgar D' Souza" <edgar -dot- b -dot- dsouza -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "John Harrington" <beartiger -dot- all -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 17:39:18 +0530

Whew, that's good to hear! I am nowhere near being a lawyer, but the
question sounded pretty ludicrous. Glad to hear the nitty-gritty of
what your legal team is actually concerned about.

Well, two points I'd like to offer:

As far as I can tell, the GPL's (v2) primary requirement is to extend
the freedom downstream by passing on the (usually modified) source of
GPLd software to people who you give out binaries to. Unless you're
planning to compile the output HTML into a CHM file or something like
that, you _are_ passing on the source simply by publishing it on the
company website. Therefore, if there are CSS style sheets or HTML
fragments that might be under a GPL license, by publishing the entire
HTML output, your company would effectively be passing on the source,
wouldn't it?

Perhaps your legal team is concerned that the entire documentation
gets sucked into being under the GPL license? Hmm...

Again, IANAL, but if Doxygen really has value to your company as a
documentation tool, perhaps they could investigate the possibility
(and legal issues) involved with modifying the source of Doxygen to
_remove_ the GPLd HTML/CSS bits that are output intermingled with the
generated docs source, and replace those with "clean-room-developed"
HTML, CSS, images that do a similar job, but the copyright on which is
owned by your company. (That would probably also help impose company
branding on output right at the generation stage.) At that point,
provided they do not distribute binaries of the modified Doxygen
program outside the company, they don't need to provide the modified
Doxygen source to anyone - and all of the generated HTML etc. is
either work product or they hold the copyright on the canned bits
Doxygen spits out...

Frankly, the glimpse into the legal issues behind using FOSS at a
company with deep pockets is quite illuminative! :-) Hope you find a
way to resolve this (I still think it a bit nutty :-) but then I don't
have the worries your company does) problem - and if it's not required
to be kept secret, perhaps you would have the patience to post,
explaining what the company/legal department settled on in the end.


On Tue, Feb 26, 2008 at 5:14 PM, John Harrington
<beartiger -dot- all -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> I'm the OP, and I'm assuming no such things. I simply asked the question.
> Were it up to me, I personally would be satisfied with the assurances I've
> received from Dimitri, not to mention the Doxygen license itself (which
> explicitly states that the output is *not* GPL'd) were it not for the fact
> that our legal team has questioned the use of Doxygen output.
> Though I'm rolling my eyes at having to go through this with our legal team,
> I don't think, after meeting with them a couple times and trying my best to
> patiently listen to them, that their concerns are entirely ridiculous. They
> claim to have found /third party/ GPL code used in the Doxygen source.
> Their concern is that third party GPL'd css, html (embedded literally in the
> code) or the source of images (pngs, etc.) may be passed directly to the
> Doxygen output. Yes, I would not have expected markup to be covered under
> GPL, but I note the GPL can be applied to any source of any kind, which I
> suppose includes a markup language such as HTML or a style sheet language
> such as CSS.
> It's just speculation but the legal team of a billion dollar company that
> regularly exploits GPL code is probably better briefed on the details of the
> vagaries of GPL law than any of us here. I myself have had one day of
> training, more than a year ago in GPL law, so I'm not prepared to argue it
> with them, which is in part why I turned to the list.
> Best regards,
> John

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Doxygen for commercial documentation?: From: John Harrington
Re: Doxygen for commercial documentation?: From: Moshe Kruger (AllWrite)
Re: Doxygen for commercial documentation?: From: Ethan Metsger
Re: Doxygen for commercial documentation?: From: Edgar D' Souza

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