I came across GIMPShop.com which distributes an installer for GIMP bundled with some kind of adware:

Gimpshop.com is distributing the original unmodified software, obtained directly from GIMP's repository website, and does not modify it in any way. These installers comply with the original software manufacturer's policies and terms & conditions. DownloadAdmin™ is an install manager, which manages the installation of your chosen software. In addition to managing your download and installation, DownloadAdmin™will offer free popular software that you may be interested in. You are not required to install any additional software to complete your installation of your selected software. You can always completely remove the programs at any time in Windows' Add/Remove Programs.

There is a "GPL" page on the site:
GPL page

and as far as I know the installation will include this as required. I have not attempted to request the source code from them.

But it seems to me that it conflicts with the terms and conditions page:
GIMPShop T&Cs page

for example:

  1. Use License

a. You can only download one copy of the information or software on Gimpshop.com. The download should be for personal, non-commercial transitory viewing only. This is not a transfer of title, however it is the grant of the license. If you have this license you may not: i. Modify or copy the materials...

Now, presumably they are referring to their installer here and not to GIMP itself, but it seems very vague to me.

Is this a violation that I should report?


1 Answer 1


IANAL, and IANYL. That said, they seem to be pretty close to legal. I think it likely that your reading of their non-free license is correct; that is, it applies only to their installer (though I agree they don't go out of their way to make that clear). Under the mere aggregation doctrine as I understand it, an installer wrapped around GPL software would not itself need to be GPL, so that's not a violation.

GIMP is distributed under GPL3 (or later versions), so as they distribute electronically they are required to make source available "in the same way through the same place" as they make their download available. On GIMPSHOP's download page there is a pretty clear link to the GIMP source on the GIMP project's FTP site. Sadly, as the GIMP project makes clear, they

had a server move a while back that caused us to lose our existing mirrors (moved from physical to virtual server and to an environment that doesn't allow FTP access)

so the link doesn't and won't work. That is a GPL3 violation, but it's also fairly easy to remedy.

In short, I think what they're doing - wrapping GPLed software in a non-free adwared installer - is lame, but with the easily-remedied exception related to their broken link, I think they're in compliance with the GPL as regards GIMP.

Interestingly, they also be out of compliance on their GPL page, which shows something they call "the GIMPSHOP General Public License" that looks remarkably like GPL2 with the original copyright notice filed off, and GIMPSHOP's inserted instead. As apsillers points out below (many thanks!) the FSF permits modfications of the GPL, but has certain requirements that GIMPSHOP have overlooked. That could be remedied, but at the moment it's clearly in violation of the FSF's copyright in the GPL.

  • 1
    In short, this looks like another relatively easy fix: cut the preamble, and make the title on the page "GIMPSHOP General Public License" instead of "General Public License"
    – apsillers
    Aug 31, 2016 at 12:11
  • @apsillers I had not previously read those instructions - thank you for that! They would need to modify the instructions at the end as well, but broadly I agree with you and have modified my answer accordingly.
    – MadHatter
    Aug 31, 2016 at 12:33

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