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Re: KDE not in Debian?

OOps, misspelled debian-legal; this also went to:

    To: Jules Bean <jmlb2@hermes.cam.ac.uk>,
            Debian Legal <debian-lega@lists.debian.org>,
    CC: Jeff Licquia <jeff@luci.org>, David Johnson


> On Fri, 28 Jan 2000, Andreas Pour wrote:
> > > > Section 2 deals with
> > > > this modification. Subsection 2c talks about licensing as a
> > > > This section does not require each individual source file to be
> > > > Evidence of this can be seen in the occasional BSDL file in the
GNU and
> > > > Linux source trees.
> > >
> > > True.  However, the BSD license allows relicensing (sort of), as
> > > as its terms are respected.  So, technically, those BSD files are
> > > GPLed when distributed with the GPLed project, as the GPL
> > > BSD (at least the new one) doesn't enforce any restrictions beyond
> > > GPL, so you're OK with this one.
> >
> > Errh, I keep hearing this misconception that BSD code can be
relicensed as GPL
> > code, but can not figure out where it comes from.  How can you
re-license BSD
> > *source code* as GPL code?
> >
> > The author of BSD code has told me (and everyone else for that
> > that I can redistribute it w/out following the requirements of the
> > (all I have to comply with is the far fewer conditions placed in the

> > BSD license).  Now you want to tell me that, by virtue of someone
> > adding a line of GPL code to it, that the whole kit and kaboodle has

> > been converted to GPL and I can no longer do what the author of the
> > BSD code told me I can do (namely, redistribute it without complying

> > with the GPL)?  Well, if you try to do that, I can remove that line
> > code and say forget you, I will distribute the code in compliance
> > BSD but in violation of the GPL.  And what is your remedy for this
> > of mine?  Can you stop me from doing it?  No, obviously not.  What
> > does that mean?  That the GPL does not apply to the "modified work
> > a whole" -- i.e. to the BSD code.  That is, the BSD code is not
> > the GPL.  This is so obvious, I find it hard to believe people keep
> > spreading this interpretation of yours as if it were true.
> This debate isn't really right for -devel, I don't think.  -legal or
> even -project.

Think I fixed this now.

> I'm not going to answer Andreas's whole mail (apart from anything
> I've argued with Andreas for weeks in the past, and I don't think I
> convince him).
> However, I will briefly try to address this misconception:
> The situation: X is a BSD product.  Y is a GPL'ed product,
incorporating X
> (or possibly a modified version of X).
> The *whole* is GPL'ed.  This is OK, since the GPL doesn't demand
> that the BSD forbids, and the BSD doesn't demand anything that the GPL

> forbids.

I don't agree that the BSD is not inconsistent w/ the GPL (by phrasing
it in terms
of demands you stack the deck; you need also look at it in terms of
The BSD permits the recipient to distribute a binary copy without also
the source code; by placing that code under the GPL, you forbid someone
to do
that.  You seem to approach this as if the GPL were some enlightened
viewpoint that
other licenses can only aspire to, but, your personal ideology aside,
that is not
the case from a legal perspective.  The relevant point is you are
changing the
package of rights that apply to a copyrighted work, without permission
from the
author to do that.  If the author wanted to let you do that, the author
would not
have licensed the work under the BSD, but would have licensed it under
both the BSD
and GPL and let you choose which one you want to apply.

Now, when you say that the "whole" is under the GPL but not the parts,
are you
referring to a compilation?  If so, under Copyright Act

    The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to
    material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished
from the
    preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any
    exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such
work is
    independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration,
    ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the

So, if the GPL only applies to the "whole" and not the "parts", then
what is the
problem w/ Qt/GPL?  If someone gets the source code to Qt and KDE, why
does the
copyright in that "combination" not comply with the GPL?  You do have
the right to
modify the "whole", you just don't have the right to modify the "parts"
(well, in
fact, only one particular part, the Qt part).  But in terms of the
"whole", if by
that you mean the compilation, you can add parts and subtract parts.

Think of it as a more typical compilation, a book composed of short
stories.  Let's
say there are in this particular case 2 short stories, one released
under the QPL
and one under the GPL (bear with me for a moment and assume that those
make sense when applied to a short story, and that you can really have a
in the selection of only two stories).  What you are suggesting, if I
you right, is that the GPL has to apply only to the compilation, not to
individual short stories.  If that is the case, it is still true that
someone who
receives KDE/Qt can change the compilation in accordance with the GPL --
person can add a new "chapter" to the compilation, or remove one, and
they just can't change the individual stories.  And as the excerpt from
Copyright Act above makes clear, the copyright on the compilation does
not affect
the copyright of the short stories.  So I don't see why, if Section 2(b)
of the GPL
requires only that the compilation be licensed under the GPL, there is a
with KDE/Qt.

Or maybe you meant something else, but I am at a loss as to what :-(.  I
can't of
any other sort of copyright relevant to computer code which might apply
to the
"whole" but not to the "parts".

> The bits which are, in isolation, Y, are GPL'ed.  The bits which
> are, in isolation, X, are still BSD.

> IOW, Andreas is quite correct here.  Nothing can stop someone from
> stripping out X and redistribute it, ignoring the GPL.
> A work as a *whole* can have a license as a *whole* which is different

> from the licenses of some of its parts.  As long as it is possible to
> simultaneously satisfy *all* the licenses, the whole can be
> To distribute any part, you need only satisfy the license on that

I agree, but I think you have buried yourself by interpreting Section
2(b) to apply
only to the compilation (in copyright, not compiler, terminology).  I do
not read
the GPL that way, that would open up huge "holes" in the GPL.  Basically
interpretation would permit anyone to add any "pieces" of code to a
GPL'd work
under whatever license they please (including the MSEULA), so long as
the recipient
is entitled to remove that "piece" or, after looking at your combination
of pieces,
recreate that combination (w/out copying your actual piece, which they
purchase from a third party like MS, but only copying your idea to put
particular pieces together), and/or add more "pieces" to the resulting
combination.  That is b/c a compilation copyright only prevents someone
copying your "selections" -- i.e., from copying your ideas about which
stories to place into a book . See, take a look at the definitions in
the Copyright
Act (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/101.html):

    A ''collective work'' is a work, such as a periodical issue,
    anthology, or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions,
    constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are
    assembled into a collective whole.

    A ''compilation'' is a work formed by the collection and
    assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected,
    coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as
    a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term
    ''compilation'' includes collective works.

I do not agree with this interpretation.  I think what the "as a whole"
refers to
is the preceding language in the sentence:

    You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that
    in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or
    any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all
    third parties under the terms of this License.

The first part says, whether the modified work is derived entirely from
the GPL
code ("in whole"), or whether only a part of the modified work is
derived entirely
from the GPL ("in part") (this would happen, e.g., if only one source
code file of
many is derived from the GPL code), the entire modified work must be
"licensed . .
. at no charge . . .".  The original GPL code, of course, remains GPL'd;
and the
original QPL code remains QPL'd.

> So a combined BSD/GPL work is quite possible since it is quite
possible to
> simultaneously satisfy all the terms of the GPL and those of the BSD.

Well, not unless you really want to open up a *huge* loophole in the
GPL, as your
interpretation above suggests.

> A combined QPL/GPL work is *not* possible, since it is *not* possible
> simultaneously satisfy the terms of the QPL and the GPL (since both
> considerably more restrictive than BSD).

> In particular, the GPL demands that any derived work be distributed in
> form which allows modification and redistribution of the modified
> source and binary.

Well, "The Earth is Flat".  Hmm, perhaps just stating it does not make
it true,
even if a lot of people believe it to be so?

Anyway, the QPL does allow modification of the modified work, even the
Qt part.
>From a philosophical viewpoint, I don't see the big deal about applying
a patch
file; you have to apply "make" and a "Makefile", "configure" and a
file, "gcc" and a bunch of system include files, "ldd-config" and a host
of other
programs to source code to get it to compile, what's so wrong with
putting a
"patch" line in your script?  With "diff/patch" you can convert the
Declaration of
Independence into Apache source code.  OK, so the resulting tarball is a
little bit
bigger too.  That's just a minor inconvenience, and not at all an issue
for the
skilled hackers that distribute this stuff.  If the next guy wants to
make further
changes, he applies the patch to Qt, changes to his heart's content,
then creates a
new patch file.  Big deal.

But I digress from the technical to the practical.

> The GPL further defines 'source' in such a way that it
> is clear that it includes the source to any required libraries. The
> however, forbids distribution of modified source and binaries, except
> under a few special conditions.

If you mean going through the trouble of typing "diff x y > z" into a
script before you distribute, then I guess the circumstances are indeed
special.  In light of the fact that adding an additional line to
scripts would add to the bloat of the thousands of lines already there
(at least in
the KDE makefiles, which are the relevant ones here), this "special"
is totally unacceptable.  It takes away a poor distributor's GPL-given
right not to
have to add that line and to waste those precious CPU cycles applying a
patch, only
so that some oppressive hackers can be assured that their names and the
name of
their work stands for something (once the distributor compiles the code,
modified binary can be distributed under Sections 4 and 5 of the QPL).



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