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Re: Qt license change

On Wed, 18 Nov 1998 luther@maxime.u-strasbg.fr wrote:

> How does this compare to the Dual license of netscape ? i think it
> was ok for netscape to do what they did, because they are not living
> from the netscape browser, but from their server stuff, but Troll tech
> cannot give away their commercial version, and this is exactly what
> they will be doing if make it DFSG compliant ...

i don't think that's true. they can afford to 'give away' their
commercial version, they just have to be clever about how they do it.

looking at their license, it seems that they want two things:

1. require that modified versions of Qt be distributed only as original
   source + patches.  The patches are to be well documented and are to
   have a BSD-style license (without the advertising clause).

   my guess is that this is so that they can take any patches and put
   them in their commercial version.

2. prevent the sale of proprietary (i.e. closed source) apps which use
   Qt.  They don't prevent the sale of open-source apps because in
   clause 6(c) they allow you to release your software under "the
   Artistic license or any GPL license."

IMO, they would be much better off starting with the GNU GPL, and
modifying it until it gave them the two things listed above.  The GPL does
a very good job of protecting a developer from having their work stolen
into a proprietary product.

Firstly, it would need an additional clause granting Troll the right
to make use of any modification to Qt without fee or royalty.  (For
fairness to patch authors, it should guarantee that Troll will always
release any new or enhanced versions under the open source license. i.e.
the only difference between the commercial version of Qt and the Free
Edition will be the license)

This would have to be carefully considered - it has to balance the
rights and needs of Troll, with those of any free software developers
who write patches for Qt.

The second point could be achieved by strengthening the startup-banner
clause of the GPL, clause 2(c). i.e. REQUIRE that proprietary
closed-source applications *prominently* display a message (the text of
which should subtly imply that the company is a hypocritical cheapskate
for not buying a commercial license) for at least 5 (or 10) seconds
at program startup, and in any about boxes, splash screens, help
files, documentation, and/or any packaging, advertising or promotional

"prominently" could be defined as being bold or highlighted text in text
mode, minimum of 18 point Courier typeface in a GUI, and the same for
printed and/or advertising material.

the message could be something like:

        This program makes extensive use of the Qt library and we're
        too cheap to pay for it, but we still expect you to pay for our

		see http://www.troll.no/qt-licence.html for details.

Open source programs to be exempted from this onerous clause, of course.

the upshot of this is that proprietary software developers would
*want* to pay for a commercial license, not doing so would be too
embarassing...How could anyone successfully market a product with a
message like that on it?


PS: interestingly, there is the potential for a nice rider to the
commercial Qt license - if Troll were so inclined, they could write in
a clause which required that any proprietary program developed with Qt
has to be released under an open source license (default GPL) within two
years of it being discontinued or withdrawn from sale.  Troll could have
this as part of their standard commercial license and optionally sell a
license without this clause for more $.

craig sanders

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