[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

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



On Sat, May 30, 1998 at 09:42:18AM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> > Qt's license says the program must be GPL or similar to use Qt free.
> 
> That's not all it says.  If I were to use Qt to develop an enhanced
> version of GTK, and distributed the result under the terms of the GPL,
> Troll Tech (or whoever bought them) could sue my pants off.

You -COULD- write a GTK-compatible wrapper for Qt.  You could even use the
GTK source for it (this would not be worthwhile, but) and you could even
distribute the results as GPL software.  However, the Qt library must remain
unchanged.  Therefore the code is not freely modifyable.  As I said, there
was nothing in the GPL which requires that the code by modifyable, only that
it be present.  Nobody could sue you for this, and in fact the Troll people
would prolly be happy to see that a Qt version of gimp is possible.


> >      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 isn't the central issue, but it is relevant.
> 
> If you send your binaries out on cdrom, then you'd have to offer to
> send out the qt sources on cdrom too.
> 
> But, if you're using qt, you can't even send out the binaries on cdrom
> in some cases.

If you're using qt and wish to send the binaries for your Qt-using program
on CD-ROM, you must include the source code as a condition for use of
Qt-free.  You don't have to provide Qt on the CD-ROM (but should and
probably should provide the Qt sources too).


> > This is not clear. It does not say that the separate 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.
> 
> You're inferring wrong.  You must be able to distribute the other sources
> with the gpl'd source, but it's perfectly permissible to have your own
> license on those sources, and nowhere does it require you to use a
> modified version of the GPL.  The X license is an example of a license
> which is not the GPL which allows the sources to be distributed with
> the GPL'd sources.

You can distribute Qt source/bin libs as long as you don't change them.


> > 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.
> 
> Because Qt has restrictions on distribution of binaries.

No it doesn't.  The license:

"[Copyright notice]

                        COPYRIGHT AND RESTRICTIONS

The Qt toolkit is a product of Troll Tech AS. This license is limited to
use with the X Window System.

You may copy this version of the Qt toolkit provided that the entire
archive is distributed unchanged and as a whole, including this notice.

You may use this version of the Qt toolkit to compile, link and use
application programs and reusable components legally developed by
third parties.

You may use the Qt toolkit to create application programs provided that:
  - You accept this license.
  - Your software does not require modifications to Qt.
  - You satisfy ONE of the following three requirements
    [3 requirements boil down to your code is GPL, LGPL, or the ability to
    get source, use it, modify it, and distribute it much like the GPL]

If you are paid to develop something with Qt or it is a part of your job
the following conditions also apply:
  - Your software must not require libraries, programs, data or
    documentation that are not available outside your organization in
    order to compile or use.
  - If and when your organization starts using the software, you must
    notify Troll Tech AS of the following:
       * Your organization's name and purpose.
       * The software's name and purpose.
       * The software's license.
       * That your organization considers the software to be free software.

You may also use the Qt toolkit to create reusable components (such as
libraries) provided that you accept the terms above, and in addition that:
  - Your components' documentation includes the following text:
        [Your package] requires the Qt library, which is copyright
        Troll Tech AS.  Freely distributable programs may generally
        use Qt for free, see [README.QT] for details.
  - README.QT is distributed along with your components.
  - Qt is not distributed as an integral part of your components.

[standard iability disclaimer]"

The only thing that could POSSIBLY restrict anything is the section which
begins "If you are paid to develop something with Qt..." and I see no
restrictions on binaries in that, only that if developed in a private
organization, you can't distribute it with Qt unless everying is available
outside your organization.  The reporting thing is kinda obnoxious, but it's
not a biggie.

Unless you're referring to the section which requires your software to be
licensed under the (L)GPL or have source freely available.  That doesn't
restrict binaries, it just requires that source be available.  The GPL does
that itself!

KDE has not violated the Qt license and they have now afaict violated the
GPL by releasing KDE as GPL software.  My question remains:  How can it be
illegal for KDE to be GPL software because if its use of Qt?

> > 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)
> 
> It's not his license that's the issue, it's Qt's.  Here's an excerpt
> from the Qt license:
>    
>    You may also use the Qt toolkit to create reusable components (such as
>    libraries) provided that you accept the terms above, and in addition that:
>      - Your components' documentation includes the following text:
>            [Your package] requires the Qt library, which is copyright
>            Troll Tech AS.  Freely distributable programs may generally
>            use Qt for free, see [README.QT] for details.
>      - README.QT is distributed along with your components.
>      - Qt is not distributed as an integral part of your components.
> 
> Also, note that nothing permits you do distribute code based on Qt
> where someone else wrote the code. For example, nothing in Qt's license
> permits you to link emacs with Qt and distribute that. For you to
> distribute an application linked with Qt, you have to have written it,
> or the program's author must have written it for use with Qt -- I can
> spell out the terms in Qt's license which specify this, if you like.

Are you saying then that the issue is one of clarity rather than of what the
license means?  If that is all that is the problem, there is a very simple
fix to the matter and I am certain Troll Tech would be happy to clarify
their license considering the impact it would have.  I'm sure it's not good
PR for them to have RMS saying that GPL software using Qt free is illegal.

Of course, changes to the license are not allowed directly by Troll Tech
anymore--but that's fine considering the Free Qt group would undoubtedly
support this bit of clarification.

Also, you pointed out lawsuit if someone buys Troll Tech.  Not gonna happen. 
If anyone buys Troll Tech, the license to Qt free becomes BSD license so
Troll Tech's new owners cannot try to Qt free and software based on it in
this manner.


> [There's some silly reporting requirements, but in my opinion that's
> all they are: silly. At least in the US they're not enforceable because
> copyright affects distribution, not application. Also, you can't force
> someone to become a free software distributor.]

They only apply if you're doing private development of public software.  It
effectively makes Qt Free postcardware for companies provied their software
is actually free software.  No biggie, as I said.

Attachment: pgpgjnvmZjjsn.pgp
Description: PGP signature


Reply to: