This is really off-topic, but... to digress for a moment...
Addendum: (minor point) Just because somebody does something you don't agree with (or understand) doesn't automatically make them an "asshole." And characterizing them as such doesn't add anything to either the tone, or the caliber, of the discussion. (Just my tuppence.)
Ok... I finally put my finger on it...
The GPL restrictions have to do with distribution
. Plugins, themes, and whatnot are distributed independently, and not with the GPL'd software. As such, I have a difficult time seeing how the GPL applies to them. After all, it's not restricting anyone's freedom to use or distribute the GPL'd software or any bundled software. What it is restricting is HOW the GPL'd software is used. That's very far from freedom.
So while a bridge/forum/plugin/adding/module/whatever may use GPL'd software, it's not distributed with any GPL'd software. So I can't see how the GPL applies in those cases, like the SMF<>Joomla bridge software.
Their definition of "content" and how it's not affected by the GPL seems to me like a weak cop-out in the light of such a radical interpretation of the GPL (in order to make it not entirely useless). I'm really only seeing inconsistencies and silliness there.
Here's what I mean (as it's the same issue but easier to use as an analogy or discussion jump-point):http://wordpress.org.../themes-are-gpl-too/
One sentence summary: PHP in WordPress themes must be GPL, artwork and CSS may be but are not required.
It seems reasonable, but I still have a bit of a hard time with it.
First, themes are not distributed with any GPL software. They have independent distribution.
So, if I write:
This is a WordPress call:
The part "This is a WordPress call:" is GPL as well because it's part of a derivative work. Ooops. This entire post is. Ooops. This entire thread is. Ooops. This entire forum is. Ooops. This entire site is. Ooops. The entire Internet is. Ooops. The entire world is. Ooops... Since I read it, and that knowledge is a part of my being, and I'm now GPL'd myself~!
My wife is gonna HATE that~!
I know that's entirely ridiculous.
What I mean is that it's a case of "we want to have our cake and eat it too." The distinction between PHP code vs. artwork and CSS are entirely arbitrary. The artwork and CSS rely on the PHP code, and I don't see how they can't be considered a derivative work in kind.
2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:
These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or contest your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the intent is to exercise the right to control the distribution of derivative or collective works based on the Program.
section seems pretty clear. Themes seem to be independent as they are distributed independently.
section is clear about "the whole", i.e. "each and every part", so I fail to see how artwork or CSS escapes that. "cake and eat it". The purple section is clear about "control the distribution". If the CSS and artwork are a part of the distribution of a theme, how is that they do not constitute "part of a whole" or "each and every part"? This genuinely confounds me.
In the purple
section, the contentious part seems to be "based on". If something adds functionality to a GPL program, then it seems to be "based on" the program according to that interpretation. THIS is the problem. If someone writes software to extend a commercial platform, and releases it as GPL, what then? All software that is non-GPL that runs on Linux extends the functionality of what the computer can do. How is it "not based on" Linux?
In the same way that WordPress themes require WordPress to run properly, software written for Linux requires Linux to run properly. I do not see any significant difference there. i.e. Is that what "based on" means?
It just sounds like a very radical re-interpretation of the GPL in some very bizarre ways.
One last thing...
On the basis of that version of WordPress, and considering those themes as if they had been added to WordPress by a third party, it is our opinion that the themes presented, and any that are substantially similar, contain elements that are derivative works of the WordPress software as well as elements that are potentially separate works. Specifically, the CSS files and material contained in the images directory of the “default” theme are works separate from the WordPress code. On the other hand, the PHP and HTML code that is intermingled with and operated on by PHP the code derives from the WordPress code.
In the WordPress themes, CSS files and images exist purely as data to be served by a web server. WordPress itself ignores these files. The CSS and image files are simply read by the server as data and delivered verbatim to the user, avoiding the WordPress instance altogether. The CSS and images could easily be used with a range of HTML documents and read and displayed by a variety of software having no relation to WordPress. As such, these files are separate works from the WordPress code itself.
Now, let me rewrite the last paragraph there in terms of SMF/Joomla...
In Joomla bridges, the bridged software exists purely as data to be served by a web server. Joomla itself ignores these files. The bridged software files are simply processed by the server as data and delivered to the user, avoiding the Joomla instance altogether. The bridged software could easily be used and read and displayed by a variety of software having no relation to Joomla. As such, these files are separate works from the Joomla code itself.
It's not perfect, but close enough. SMF processes information over there, and Joomla process information over here, and bridge lets them deliver that information to the user at the same time.
The bridge on the other hand, I supposed that would have to be GPL.
I suppose I should instead just be rolling my eyes and shutting up though. It's not going to change anything. I just hope that interpretation of the GPL doesn't get picked up in other places.
Anyways... Just trying to explain in part why I came off as a jackass above.
(That and my diet is seriously making me cranky lately, but I'm still losing weight.)