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[Off-topic] Licenses (Was: How to reratify the DFSG ?)



On Fri, May 29, 1998 at 07:30:23PM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> Rev. Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@earthlink.net> wrote:
> > But according to RMS, since Qt is NOT GPL, they can't write GPL'd
> > programs for Qt.
> 
> I think you've mis-interpreted rms, and I really wish you'd read the
> licenses for yourself. However, one more try at addressing the points
> you raise:

I have read the licenses.  I am not a lawyer and may have mis-interpretted
them.


> It's not because Qt is not GPL -- BSD is not GPL, and you can link GPL'd
> code with BSD code. The problem is that if you linked GPL'd code with
> Qt code then distributed the result as the GPL specifies Troll-Tech (or
> whoever owns the license at the time) could sue you, and would probably
> win.

Qt's license says the program must be GPL or similar to use Qt free.


> > How one cannot do this for Qt but CAN for Mozilla I question.
> 
> Then why not read that license, too? You *can* redistribute Mozilla,
> it wouldn't be the official distribution, but if even if Netscape is
> purchased by Microsoft (or whoever) tomorrow, you'll still be able to
> redistribute browsers derived from the Mozilla code base.

Now the mozilla license I REALLY am in trouble with past the basic points. 
People are right that the others are easier to make sense of, but I've read
that too.  From the GPL itself:

     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.  However, as a special
     exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that
     is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the
     major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system
     on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies
     the executable.

This is where the restriction is made that source code be available for
everything.  It says that source code need not be provided for that which is
normally distributed with the OS.  Some use the argument that Qt is a
standard library and therefore meets this exception.  Most don't buy that.


     If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access
     to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to
     copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the
     source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the
     source along with the object code.

I don't know about you, but I read this paragraph as "if you don't package
all source code used in the program, out can have the source code available
in a designated place and we'll call it good enough."  You can get source to
Qt free, but there are restrictions to using it that are different from
those of the GPL.

This is not clear.  It does not say that the seperate package need be GPL as
well.  The above paragraph doesn't even say that included source code must
all be freely modifyable, only that it must be included.  I would say it is
inferred from other paragraphs that the software must also be GPLed.

So, once again:  Mozilla is not GPL, neither is Qt.  Both have source
available to the requirement of this license.  So, why is GPL code using Qt
bad, but GPL code using Mozilla not?  I say the problem is clearly a
political one, not a legal one.


> > Neither are GPL. The fact that RMS has himself said one is okay and
> > another is not is an issue IMO. At this point I will consider this to
> > be simply idealism. But you bet I'm concerned that his idealism may
> > begin to hurt more than help. THAT is what I am worried about.
> 
> It's not idealism, it's a simple statement that Mozilla's license is
> free enough while Qt's license is not.

His license doesn't back him up.  (Please point out the relevant part if I
am wrong, it's not a simple 2 screen document after all)


> > > I think you're repeating rumor. Qt's license prohibits certain kinds
> > > of distribution, GPL requires that those forms of distribution be
> > > legal. If you can't satisfy the terms of the license you can't
> > > redistribute.
> 
> > I'm repeating what he's said directly. He directly said that GPL
> > patches to Mozilla could be written but that GPL'd KDE can't be done.
> > I'd like to know what makes one okay but the other not.
> 
> Then why not read the licenses?

I have, and I'm frankly tired of being told to read the license.  I have
read it and have posted the part which appeared relevant.  If I'm missing a
part which is also relevant, please point it out.

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