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Re: Can we pull KDE?

On Tue, Sep 08, 1998 at 09:19:58AM -0700, Jim Pick wrote:
> Raul Miller <rdm@test.legislate.com> writes:
> > I think we should just pull the kde packages out of debian.  When new
> > packages are available with proper copyrights, we can distribute those.
> I don't agree that the copyright/licensing violations are grievous
> enough to justify this.

We don't have a license to distribute KDE (most probably), and we don't have
a license to distribute Qt linked binaries of some GPL'ed programs by third
parties (even more probably). So how can we distribute KDE?

> We should work with the KDE guys to resolve the worst problems, and
> let it go at that.

We already have done so. Now it is their turn to solve their problems.
We can reinclude parts of KDE when we can be sure that we don't violate
anybodys copyright.
> There is a difference of opinion on how the GPL should be interpreted
> with regards to Qt.  Why can't we accept that?

Because we don't have any lawyer to help us. We cut a line, and we have to
be on the safe side. Personal opinion does not help very much. Currently,
if any, the only opinion counts is the opinion of RMS (as he wrote the GPL). 

> I personally believe
> there is enough "slap" in the GPL license that it can be used with a
> library such as Qt (ie. emacs can be compiled against Motif).

There is a huge difference. Emacs can't be linked with Motif on Linux. Emacs
can be linked wiuth Solaris libc. Only if *every* version of Linux ships
with Qt (and we all know this is not true), GPL programs could be linked
with Qt on Linux. It is ridiculous to say that Qt is a major system library
on Linux. Many linux systems don't even have X installed.
> I don't see any evidence that there exists people who are worked up
> enough over the licensing that they'd be willing to pursue legal
> action.  If there were "real" license problems, I'm sure the KDE guys
> would rectify the problem (or SuSE and Caldera would drop KDE).

This argument does not hold. Only because there is nobody who complains, you
can't go and break the law.

SuSE is not very careful about the copyrights of the things they ship. I'm
sure a careful look would reveal some problems in their distribution. I
don't know about Caldera.

> This whole thing is ridiculous.  Especially when you consider that
> "contrib" isn't even an official part of Debian.  I thought putting
> KDE in contrib was reasonable enough of a "sanction" against the KDE
> guys for using Qt.  Apparently that isn't enough for some people.

Only if KDE explicitly allows to be linked with Qt. A simple addition to
every copyright statement would be enough to do this. And, you are missing
the point that there is non-KDE but GPL'ed program code incorporated, for
which KDE doesn't have a license to use at all.

> I like Debian.  It's really plugged into the Linux community.  But the
> KDE guys are part of the community as well.  I'd guess that 80% of the
> Linux community harbours no bad feelings against KDE.  Some people
> want to declare war, and use Debian as a weapon.  That reflects back
> on us.  I don't want any part of that.

I can't share your interpretation of the things that happen. We always look
at the copyright of the software we distribute. If we see problems, we try
to help the author(s) to improve it for our needs. If they won't, we can't
distribute the code. I don't see any reason to treat KDE differently. A
similar (but reverse) situation was with ncftp, where a non-free program
linked with a GPL'ed library. Luckily, the author changed to GPL for this

At least one KDE people (Stephan) is aware of the problems at least since
the last major discussion (a few weeks ago). If they don't change their
license (add the Qt exception), why should we continue to ignore the issue?

Please go back and read the prior discussion in the archive. I think you
missed some points.

Thank you,

"Rhubarb is no Egyptian god."        Debian GNU/Linux        finger brinkmd@ 
Marcus Brinkmann                   http://www.debian.org    master.debian.org
Marcus.Brinkmann@ruhr-uni-bochum.de                        for public  PGP Key
http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Marcus.Brinkmann/       PGP Key ID 36E7CD09

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