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Re: KDE: a plan how to solve that

On Tue, Feb 01, 2000 at 02:50:01PM +0000, Jules Bean wrote:
> I share your feeling that things 'may not be effective'.  But having a FAQ
> for the benefit of our users is surely a good thing.

I'm including the draft.  It's important to emphasize that this is
a draft.  For example, where it mentions "kvt, kghostview/kgv, kdvi,
kmidi, kscd, or kfloppy":

Currently there are no kde packages with these names, as far as I know.
(Then again, there are no kde debian packages...)  I looked at a
reasonably current kdebase deb package on someone's web site, earlier
this week, and it did include kvt.  I suppose I should try to find the
url of that web site and see if I can find out where the others are,
and if they have new names.

In retrospect, Joseph probably doesn't have this information any
closer to hand than I do.

And, of course, there might be more accurate ways of phrasing some of
the other questions or answers.

To convert this draft to html, pipe this mail message through:

	pod2html --title 'Debian KDE FAQ'

=head2 Why doesn't Debian distribute KDE?

Because KDE has been distributed under the GPL, but to make it work you
need to use Qt.  And these licenses conflict.

Background: About thirty years ago, when unix was written, computers
were still rare.  There were few people working with them, and although
they were produced and used in commercial environments, programs were
distributed among interested people rather informally.

In the mid-seventies, when microcomputers came out, and minicomputers
were being produced in large numbers, software was perceived as having
significant commercial value.  So what was once passed around freely was
locked down under strict licenses -- licenses so strict that a co-author
of a piece of software might not be allowed to see his own work.

Some people leaped at this as a money-making opportunity.  Some looked
at this as a case of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

In particular, Richard Stallman wrote the GNU Public License (GPL), so
that his software could be shared without losing access to it.  The GPL
allows for commercial redistribution and enhancement, but not proprietary
redistribution.  It achieves this by making it illegal to distribute
GPLed code if it's licensed under terms more restrictive than the GPL.

Qt was written with somewhat different goals in mind.  Qt is proprietary
to Troll Tech, but can be redistributed freely in a non-commercial

=head2 Is it legal to distribute KDE under Solaris?

No, because it's still the same combination of GPL and QPL code.

=head2 Why doesn't dynamic linking let you distribute KDE?

Copyright law doesn't grant any special privileges for dynamic linking.

=head2 Doesn't QPL 2 let you distribute KDE?

No.  When QPL 2 was announced, it was advertised as the solution to this
license conflict, and this announcement convinced some distributors (such
as Red Hat) that it would be ok to go ahead and keep distributing KDE.
However, when it was released, it had failed to achieve GPL compatibility.

=head2 What's the QPL?

see http://www.troll.no/qpl/

=head2 What about the BSD license?

KDE doesn't use the BSD license.  The BSD license allows redistribution
under both commercial and proprietary terms.

=head2 Doesn't the KDE FAQ say that KDE is free software?  

Currently, http://www.kde.org/documentation/faq/kdefaq-2.html#ss2.6,
says that it's absolutely legal.  But that's a fraud for the packages
which were altered to make them compatible with Qt.

=head2 Is it legal to make KDE and Qt available on CD for a fee?  

Not if it includes kvt, kghostview, kdvi, kmidi, kscd, or maybe

=head2 Is it legal to make KDE and Qt available on CD free of charge?  

Not if it includes kvt, kghostview, kdvi, kmidi, kscd, or maybe kfloppy.

=head2 Why those package?

A lot of KDE was written explicitly for use with Qt.
For those cases, it seems to be the case that the authors
don't care about the license.  It might even be the case that
http://www.kde.org/documentation/faq/kdefaq-2.html#ss2.6 constitutes
legal permission to distribute GPL+QPL software written by authors of
that faq -- that would be a matter for copyright lawyers to decide.

However, the packages listed above were written under the GPL well before
KDE "adopted" them, and it's more difficult to say that legal permission
has been granted to distribute these as part of KDE.

=head2 Where are the KOffice debian packages for Debian?

Debian has chosen to wait until the licensing issues are fixed before
distributing the software.

=head2 How in the world is KDE abusing the GPL, since they are the licensor?

Two ways:  one, by pretending that the GPL allows proprietary
redistribution, and two by pretending that since they can do this with
this with code they wrote themselves that they can also do this with
other people's code.

=head2 If KDE is the wrongdoer, how could anything Troll Tech do change that?

They work very closely with each other.  And, essentially, Troll Tech
wouldn't have a commercial product without KDE.

=head2 Have the authors of kvt, kghostview/kgv, kdvi, kmidi, kscd, or kfloppy been contacted?

Some have said that the might relicense their software under KDE if
anyone bothered to ask them.

=head2 Have they refused to change their license?

As far as I know: not yet.

=head2 Why did Red Hat start distributing KDE?

Because, supposedly, Troll Tech was going to fix the Qt license so that
it wasn't proprietary, and KDE would be using some other license than
the GPL.

=head2 What about Motif?  If it's legal to distribute GPLed software
linked against Motif, why is it not OK if it's linked against Qt?
If it's not ok to distribute GPLed software linked against Qt, why is
it OK to do so if it's linked against Motif?

That works for cases like Solaris where Motif was distributed with the OS.
In this case, it's illegal to distribute the GPLed app with the OS,
which is why www.sunfreeware.com doesn't distribute sun software, and
sun doesn't distribute anything from www.sunfreeware.com.

=head2 Aren't you all just a bunch of paranoid trouble makers?

Well.. no.  Debian may at times be contentious, but to our knowledge
debian is the highest quality linux distribution available.



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