RFC: README.contrib for the CD's
Please read this, and mail me any amendments that are required SOON.
I'll be putting this (or something like it) in the CD's
"CONTRIB" IS NOT A PART OF DEBIAN
NOTE: It's not clear whether or not we have the right to distribute
KDE binaries. This is a general problem involving GPL'd code where
the binaries require certain kinds of non-free code so it may be
that other code in contrib has similar problems. Please be careful
about deciding whether or not you wish to distribute these binaries.
On the one hand, other Linux distributors (such as Caldera and SuSE)
are distributing these binaries as if they were free software. On
the other hand, just because other people are doing it doesn't make
it right. On the third hand, the KDE folk have implied that it's OK
to distribute these kind of binaries. On the fourth hand, they've
never addressed the underlying issue: their license requires that
all the code which went into the binaries be distributed under terms
where you can modify the source code and redistribute the result,
but they're using Qt, and Qt forbids such use.
We'd like to see this issue resolved, but only the KDE folks can do
this. The public statements by the KDE folks lead us to believe
that they intend to do something to make KDE binaries legally
redistributable as free software so we are not taking any action at
this time. However, in good conscience we cannot pretend that this
issue does not exist. Take care.
Raul Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As an additional caveat, We'd like to point out that some of the
``KDE binaries'' include code covered by the GPL, but not written by
KDE team members. Unfortunately this was only pointed just before
the release of Debian 2.0, and there was therefore no time to
investigate which packages this involves, so they were left in the
The fact that third party GPL code has been used for KDE apps, means
that the programs where this is the case are almost certainly not
covered by a valid licence, so please don't assume that you are able
to redistribute them, just because of the GPL reference in the
package. Investigate the upstream sources thoroughly before acting
on the assumption that you are licensed to distribute these packages.
This problem is not limited to KDE binaries, and could apply to any
other GPL'd programs in the contrib, or non-free sections. For
example, GPL'd code that has been linked against Motif is almost
certainly not distributable, and will be removed from the Debian
archives if modified licences are not forthcoming from the authors.
We'd like to apologise to any authors that object to having their
code linked in this way (we'll remove the offending binaries as soon
as is practical), and we hope that those that do not object will
clarify their licences so that we are not compelled to cease
distribution of their programs.
Philip Hands <email@example.com>
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