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Re: Having a non-free and a non-cd branch?

Philip Hands wrote:
  >Kevin Atkinson <kevina@clark.net> wrote:
  >> When they say under the GPL tsurly hey only mean for program using Qt
  >> and not Qt itself.
  >The GPL applies to ALL the parts that go to make a program.  The only 
  >exception being the default system libraries that one can guarantee to part 
  >any system on which a person might want to run a program.  Qt does not quali
  >for this exception (I don't have it on any of my systems ;-)
  >The idea that getting permission from Troll makes it OK is bogus.
  >Imagine this scenario:
  >  Large international bank grabs a copy of kdebase from us (which act of 
  >  distribution involves us granting them the right to modify ALL the source
  >  including Qt)
  >  They modify Qt to make it run better on the ATM's and start running it in 
  >  every branch worldwide (using the GPL as their right to distribute)
No. Nothing whatever can give you rights to amend the licence to someone
else's code.  If you licence something under GPL, that licence can only
apply to what you have written yourself.  It cannot affect a licence
applied by someone else to their code. (Of course, the Debian copyright
file for the package should make the position clear.)

The conflict between the GPL and TrollTech licences is unimportant, seeing
that TrollTech and KDE both consent to its being applied to kde software.
The result is quite clear - the kde bits can be changed under GPL and the
Qt bits cannot.

The provisions of the GPL against combining with non-GPL software could
only be enforced by the person who applied the GPL to the software in the
first place, namely, KDE.  Quite obviously, they have no intention of
doing any such thing, and (in legal terms) would be estopped from taking any
action because their own actions have made clear their implicit consent
to the use of Qt with kde.

This leaves aside the point that there has been no legal opinion on whether
dynamic linking of GPL software with non-GPL libraries violates the GPL.
Richard Stallman says it does, but his statements have no legal force
except in respect of GPL'd software from FSF itself (and perhaps not even
for that).  For any software licensed by others under GPL, the strict terms
of the GPL appear to suggest that dynamic linking to anything is permissible
(since the dynamic library is not incorporated into the software).  Bear in
mind the difference in licensing between static and dynamic Motif libraries.
The GPL was drawn up before dynamic libraries were in common use and does
not really address the issue.

In such discussions, please be aware that the GPL is not some independent 
entity.  It is merely a licence which people may apply to their own code.
Their own words and actions can modify the licence.  The GPL's prohibition
against the alteration of its own text does not prevent someone from
applying another licence alongside it and modifying it.
Oliver Elphick                                Oliver.Elphick@lfix.co.uk
Isle of Wight                              http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver
               PGP key from public servers; key ID 32B8FAA1
     "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it 
      is the power of God unto salvation to every one that 
      believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."  
                             Romans 1:16 

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