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KDE: a plan how to solve that


Debian isn't shipping KDE. This mail is written under the assumption that

 - Debian would like to do so
 - they think there are licensing issues which prevent them from doing so

If thats wrong, and you simply don't want to ship KDE (because you for
instance think it is not pure enough), forget this mail. Simply say so,
and no more discussion is required.

However, assuming it's only a licensing issue, I'd suggest the following:

It seems that in the KDE licensing debates, everybody gets frustrated and
nothing is moving.

FreeKDE is an lightweight approach to fix these issues. Consisting of a
simple script, it is supposed to copy those parts of KDE that have
undoubtful licensing from the cvs tree, and assemble them in a buildable
fashion. I think this strategy can succeed very well, given that
 * somebody takes maintainance of this FreeKDE package
 * it gets included into Debian as soon as possible
If this happens, you have a good reason if you go to the author of k<foo> and
ask him whether he could change his license. You can say: if you do so, your
code will be in debian in two weeks (this is also valid for kde cvs apps
like konqueror, konsole, kword and such).
Thats a much better motivation, than saying: if you do so, your code may be
included somewhen in Debian, when all licensing issues have been resolved.
Most people will then answer: "well, that will never happen, so why bother?".

It is only a proof-of-concept, not capable of doing anything more than
running the window manager and panel (and crash soon ;).

However, it seems to be the fastest way one can go. For instance, writing a
LGPLd Qt compatible toolkit requires you probably 7 fulltime people for a
year at least, but you would all the time need to keep up with Troll Tech.

On the other hand, this is a hack which I assembled in a few hours. If
somebody wants to work on this now (and start contacting the various people,
and try to include more and more in the FreeKDE thing, when the licenses have
been fixed), there are good chances that it will succeed at least to some

You can get the scripts at


There is a complete (compileable) version including the relevant KDE
sources in that directory as well, but if you want to develop on FreeKDE,
you'll need a kde snapshot at home (cvsup or something). If you want to
use the stuff right now (as end user): forget it, it's really non functional.

I won't continue to work on this package, as I have enough to do working
on kdelibs. So if you want KDE in Debian, your chance is to go on with that.

   Cu... Stefan
  -* Stefan Westerfeld, stefan@space.twc.de (PGP!), Hamburg/Germany
     KDE Developer, project infos at http://space.twc.de/~stefan/kde *-

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