Re: Re^2: Should we ship KDE in hamm?
"Fulgham, Brent/SCO" wrote:
>> > But KDE is free software.
>> The source is free software.
>> The compiled binaries linked against Qt is not free software.
>This may just be semantics, but isn't the software "free" if it only
>links against the Qt libraries? We wouldn't be distributing anything
>non-free -- users would have to obtain their own Qt libraries if they
>wanted to use Qt...
You are correct, though you will have a hard time convincing Philip &
The crucial bits of the GPL are these:
0 This License applies to any program or other work which contains
a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed
under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below,
refers to any such program or work...
1 You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
source code as you receive it, in any medium...
2 You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
of it, thus forming a work based on the Program...
b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
parties under the terms of this License.
3 You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
Sections 1 and 2 above provided that...
The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source
code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any
associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to
control compilation and installation of the executable.
6 Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
these terms and conditions...
How to apply this to the KDE packages:
Clause 0: This applies to KDE (though I understand that there is
some confusion over this -- the KDE developers have been careless about
putting the GPL reference at the top of every source file.) It certainly
does not apply to Qt. Therefore Qt is not part of 'the Program'. It
must therefore be a separate component on which the Program relies.
[This is hard to imagine if a library is statically linked, but a
logical consequence of the definition of 'the Program'.]
Clause 1: You can redistribute the source with no further conditions -
Clause 2: Does not apply to KDE because this clause applies only to
modifications, and the Debian packages are made by a KDE author and are
the same as those offered by KDE themselves. [This still leaves the
possibility that KDE have breached copyright by incorporating someone
else's GPL'd code; more on this below.]
Clause 3: Requires us to make Qt source code available on the same terms
as the other package source code. We already do this. [We cannot do it
Clause 6: Does 'the Program' include Qt? As stated in the comment on
clause 0, no. Therefore the licence does not purport to license anyone
to modify Qt (which TrollTech do not permit.)
Finally, if the above points are disputed, it remains the case that it
is KDE's manifest intention and desire that their programs be
distributed and used as widely as possible, notwithstanding any
inconsistencies in the licence as regards Qt. Their behaviour and
statements to this effect may reasonably be taken into account in
determining whether they, as copyright holders, have given permission
to distribute their product. [The principle of importing implied terms
into an agreement, where necessary to make sense of it, is very well
established in the law of Contract, and may reasonably be imported
into this area of law by analogy.]
It is thus demonstrated that there is no problem with our distributing
KDE binaries (subject to settling any problems with KDE's own breach of
copyright, if any.)
Other GPL packages that are adapted to use Qt/Motif:
It has been stated that it is illegal to combine other people's GPL
code with non-free components like Qt and Motif. This is supposed
to be effected by GPL clauses 2 and 3.
Such a combination would be a modification under clause 2. There are
three cases to consider: first, where a GPL library is linked with a
non-free Program; second, where a GPL program is modified and linked
to a non-free library; and lastly, where a GPL program is combined
with other non-free parts (which are not libraries).
The important words in 2 b) are 'contains or is derived from'. The legal
question to be answered is whether this applies to a shared library.
Now I think it is clear that a program that links to a shared library
does not contain it; if the shared library is not loaded, no part of it
is present, therefore it cannot be contained in the program. It follows,
then, that it must be covered, if it is covered at all, by the words 'is
derived from'. Now, to be derived from another program, a new program
must contain at least a small part of the first program, even if
modified in some way. Since a program linked with a shared library does
not contain _any_ part of that library, this cannot apply either. [RMS
has stated that it does, but the language of the GPL does not support
this. I think that FSF need to issue a new version of the GPL if they
wish to have modification cover shared library linking.]
A static library, on the other hand, is contained in whole or in part
in a binary which is linked to it.
Therefore it appears that it is OK to link GPL code to a non-free
dynamic library, but not to its static equivalent. Similarly, it is
OK to link a GPL dynamic library to a non-free program. [This is
speaking legally rather than ethically.] It is not OK to incorporate a
GPL program in a non-GPL one, or vice versa; this includes, but is not
limited to, static libraries.
With Motif, you can link with the static library, and distribute the
result, but you cannot distribute the dynamic library. This is a conflict
between the requirements of Motif and the GPL which means that you must
get the copyright holders' consent to link a GPL program with Motif.
Oliver Elphick Oliver.Elphick@lfix.co.uk
Isle of Wight http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver
PGP key from public servers; key ID 32B8FAA1
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another;
be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and
humble. Do not repay evil for evil or insult for
insult, but with blessing, because to this you were
called so that you may inherit a blessing."
I Peter 3:8,9
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