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Re: including Qt on Debian

: its not free software : we may not change it, may not fix bugs,

From: Conrad Sanderson <csand@wave.me.gu.edu.au>
> that's a side issue.  you can fix bugs, but you have to submit them to
> somebody, whether this is GNU software or commercial.  

A side issue! Hardly. Note the Debian Social Contract, which places high
importance on the form of software licenses.

With real free software, you _should_ "submit fixes to somebody", but you
_can_ fix the software regardless of whether that somebody accepts your changes
or not. This is very important, because it assures us that a free version of the
software will always exist regardless of any policy changes by the copyright

> So in the case of Qt, or any other software (GPL I presume), just "fixing"
> bugs doesn't really do anything because the fixes are not part of the
> official distribution.  You have to give your fixes to someone who
> controls the program/package.  It is pretty irrelevant whether this is
> GPL software or free commercial software.

Not so. For example, Cygnus recently tried to change the license on a
library that had until then been free software. We decided to take the
last free software version of that library and continue to maintain it
as free software, merging in user improvements, independent of the version
Cygnus was maintaining. Cygnus eventually decided to keep a free software
license on the product, but if they had not we would have maintained it

> I know.  I am going to ask the KDE people to make 2 versions of the
> software, since it is the only way some people want to listen.  One
> version will be dynamically linked and the other one statically (hence
> absolutely NO licensing restrictions are made).  Would you then include it
> as part of your linux distribution ?

Dynamic or static linking makes no difference in this case. Qt would
still fail tests #3 and #6 of the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

> btw, this is what Qt was trying to change: the bloatedness of statically
> linking libraries, which everybody has to do with Motif.  Qt is free to
> use.  I really don't understand this idealism that something is either
> completely free or not free at all.

Well, if you don't understand it, why not learn about it? Start by reading
Debian's Social Contract on our web page.


Can you get your operating system fixed when you need it?
Linux - the supportable operating system. http://www.debian.org/support.html
Bruce Perens K6BP   bruce@debian.org   NEW PHONE NUMBER: 510-620-3502

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