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Re: KDE in Debian: suggestion for resolution

[ a couple people getting this message are getting a Bcc, please see below ]

On Tue, Sep 08, 1998 at 04:15:56PM -0700, John Lapeyre wrote:
> 	Can we have a debian maintainer maintain KDE packages for KDE for
> distribution  by KDE and _not_ by any debian ftp sites, or CD's.

This is essentially what is being asked for.  KDE distributes .debs on their
site as they do .rpms, so Debian not distributing them additionally seems
like a fair way for Debian to say "we don't like what you're doing and can't
take responsibility for helping you do it because of possible legal
backlash" and doesn't really hurt KDE unless they really want to be included
with Debian.

I would argue that the best place to get KDE now is in fact the KDE pages,
not the Debian FTP site.  Though I would be happy to see them at least
SUPPORT harmony or similar project like many packages do with motif and
lesstif.  If they'd be willing to help make that work (based on their
dealing with the license, it would have to be active help to satisfy me)
then I would be all for letting it lie while letting them work on making KDE
compatible with both qt and harmony.

Note that I would not object to KDE using extra features in newer versions
of Qt that harmony didn't support yet if you link with Qt instead of
harmony, but it should at least work with both.

> 	The maintainer (perhaps S. Kulow) can make it clear that he is not
> acting as part of debian.
> 	Then:
> 	Packages are available.
> 	KDE takes responsibility for legal problems, not debian.
> 	KDE loses the benefit of the BTS, but that is not too high a
> price, I think.

Again, this is what we were saying.

> I'd suggest saying that it is for protection from legal prosecution and
> leave it at that.  Without the faulty license, KDE would just be another
> piece of non-free software.

KDE is free software.  It depends on non-free Qt which makes binary
distribution a problem.  It becomes a bigger problem because the KDE people
can't just add a simple clause saying "it's okay to link with Qt" to their
license in all cases.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong here...  If Qt were under a licence with
certain provisions[1] which ask you to use the commercial version for
commercial applications or possibly required it if the software is not free
software (free software can be commercial software and I know this is hit by
the Qt license as needing commercial Qt) or at least if source isn't
provided and possibly require some stepping-around allowing source mods to
require anything that is offically Qt to be what troll tech decides is Qt or
similar, this would solve the problem we have now?

I realize this is asking Troll Tech to fix the problem that the KDE license
does not allow linking with Qt--but because the KDE people CAN'T add this
clause to any of the code they didn't write (which we all have agreed is a
bit of a mess) at least I'm doing SOMETHING instead of just whining that we
should yank the whole thing from Debian.

As it stands now, I think probably it should be pulled from contrib just to
cover our proverbial asses so to speak.  And before anyone wants to say I'm
just trying to declare war on non-free qt because it is, see back a couple
months before hamm was released when I got into a rather significant
argument about the subject in which I argued (and have since been shown why
my argument was inaccurate) that Qt doesn't at all break the GPL.

Another added benefit---if Troll Tech likes my suggestions (which they may
or may not, I suspect the KDE people wouldn't object at all) my suggestions
would make Qt free software when dealing with free software (seems this was
TT's intent anyway) and that would make it compatible with the DFSG and
allow the package into main along with KDE which would move there.

On the downside, the Troll people might have been counting on income from
the commercial people making free software which I personally think to be
not wise but hey it's not my decision.  If that's the case, this idea may
not sound good to them.  Also, I'm not sure if this is compatible with the
GPL either.  It's compatible with debian's DFSG, but it might not be enough
for the GPL software the KDE project didn't write.  I suspect if it's not
there may be some chance that RMS would consider the allowance since it
really doesn't HURT free software IMO at least and AFAIK Artistic licensed
code is compatible with the GPL now.  Artistic has a similar "rename
modifications" license.

Either way, I am doing something about it by Bcc'ing my first and likely
last reply it this already too long thread to wuebben@kde.org and
Eirik.Eng@troll.no, the people listed in the KDE
free Qt foundation announcement.  Please don't bug them with the rest of the
thread, that's why this is a Bcc.

[1] A proposed set of terms, if they work anyone who wants them may have at
them without royalty...

	* You may link, modify, distribute, whatever verbatim copies of the
	* You may link, modify, distribute, whatever modified copies of the
	  software under the verbatim license which comes with the software
	  provided that the modded version doesn't share the same name as
	  the software for revision control reasons. (DFSG allows, does
	  GPL?  This is probably an important point)
	* Mods you make to the free version of the software must be
	  available as source code from wherever the binary version is (just
	  like the GPL)  In addition you must send your mods directly to the
	  copyright holders of the software and they must be allowed to
	  incorporate these changes into a future version if they wish
	  without royalty.
	* If there is no source to the program (which links this software)
	  available to everyone the program is distributed to and the
	  program, you must obtain a commercial license to use this
	  software.  This can mean source is available like iD has done with
	  doom for example or like our fearless leader has done with our
	  kernel.  The former is more open to non-freeness, but the latter
	  is more in the spirit of free software..

This makes it easier to use the software (qt) with free stuff but still
makes commercial vendors pay for it.  Netscape could replace Motif with Qt
and still distribute the result, but if their non-free browser included code
not in their free version, they could be asked (forced) to pay for a
commercial qt license.  If it's just the free version with the "N" logo,
some graphics, other utils (free or not, as long as they don't use qt) etc,
they should be able to stick with the free qt...

Note that the real difference is that qt would be modifyable, but you
couldn't call teh result qt and you'd have to send your changes upstream for
troll tech to decide whether or not to include them.  Possibly a few more
people could use the free qt, but likely not many more.  Netscape and Corel
for some things, but they're probably it at the moment---and these corporate
types would have a vested interest in a commercial license anyway so all
their programs had the same interface, free or not.

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