On Tue, May 09, 2006 at 11:41:09PM +0100, Jim C. wrote:
I’m trying to figure out what the software license would be for code
(scaffolds, etc) generated by Rails.
And because I mentioned the GPL, people have started debating the
coverage of that particular license, especially as compared to the MIT.
As far as I can see, this is a complete red herring. The GPL FAQ link
was talking about copyright law, not the GPL itself, and was trying to
describe the circumstances under which the copyright status of a
program could extend to its output - which is precisely what I was
I will not be modifying the Rails application. I won’t be modifying the
AjaxScaffold gem either. Therefore the only (initial) concern that I
have with their license is my freedom to use the programs, and I have
that. Whether they’re GPL or MIT at this stage has no relevance. They
could even be pure Microsoft …
The Bison situation is relevant. Here’s the direct FAQ link
To paraphrase :-
“Some programs copy parts of themselves into the output for technical
reasons … the copied text in the output is covered by the same license
that covers it in the source code. Meanwhile, the part of the output
which is derived from the program’s input inherits the copyright status
of the input.”
This seems to fit the description of the output of both the initial
‘rails’ command, and that of a generator like AjaxScaffold.
The implication – regardless of the license in use – is that the
majority of the output of these commands is under the copyright of the
program author, and not me.
In the case of ‘rails’, my only input was the path name for the
application, and therefore I can only claim copyright over those lines
of the files that mention that path name explicitly. Everything else
belongs to DHH, and the core team.
In the case of the AjaxScaffold generator, my input is my database
schema, and therefore everything other than the model and column names
in the view belongs to Richard W…
In the case of Bison, the FAQ indicates that they have explicitly
disclaimed copyright over the output; however I note that the current
Bison distribution seems to use only a generic GPL, and I can’t see any
This claim of copyright over the output of such programs seems to be an
unexpected outcome of copyright law. If it is true, I’d like to see some
explicit comments in the generated files; or an explicit grant in the
license, similar to the one claimed for Bison.
Otherwise, “All your (unmodified) base belong to us” …