More than just a plugin

Ethan Blanton elb at
Thu Dec 17 10:15:03 EST 2009

Andrew Seed spake unto us the following wisdom:
>     We have been developing a plugin for Pidgin but needed to change a
> few things about the pidgin interface and I am not sure how this would
> affect the GPL.
>     What we have programmed is avatar heads which animate like
> emoticons ( using the AIM protocol ). These images are 3D images based
> on a photo of your own head. To accommodate this an extra page was
> added to the Account management, adding the capability into the Oscar
> protocol and changing the message window to be able to display the
> heads. We have also added behind the Pidgin logo our logo as I
> consider the program to be Pigin incorporating Me-Motes ( webpage is
>     This program has not been launched but we feel its in a beta stage
> and would like the input of people concerned as I am not an expert on
> GPL and would like to avoid any pitfalls.

I think I can make this easy for you:  Your plugin MUST be licensed
with a GPL-compatible license.  Therefore, it must be open source.

I sense that this is not the case, which means that your plugin is a
violation of the GPL and it cannot be distributed.  The fact that you
have gone ahead and distributed the binary means that you are legally
obligated to provide the source of your plugin to anyone who
downloaded it.


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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