[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: KDE not in Debian?

Jeff Licquia wrote:

> > 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 same way you can re-license it as proprietary code.  See below.

There are many things copyright law (in the US) does not allow you to
do. That you can do some of these things with GPLd and BSDLd code
derives solely from the extra permissions that were given to you in the
license. The license has become in effect, an extension to copyright law
with regards to a single work. To change the license is to change the
legal rights of the user, which only the copyright holder can do. If a
permission or right isn't listed in a license, and copyright law doesn't
give it to you, then you don't have it.

The BSD gives very broad and extensive permissions to second parties.
But one permission it does not give is the right to change the license.

> When I give you a copy of "gv" under the GPL, what conditions have I
> violated?  I have, per condition 1, preserved the copyright notice,
> the conditions, and the disclaimer, all of which are allowed (or even
> required) under the GPL.  The same with condition 2.  For condition 3,
> I have not made any statements that the University endorses my
> software, and the GPL does not require me to.

Great! That means I can extract all of the BSD code and distribute them
under the BSD license using the BSD conditions, according the the BSD
permission you were obliged to give me. You really haven't relicensed
the BSD code at all!

> Were I to package and distribute KDE for Debian, and place it in main,
> then the two would definitely be a unified work, as KDE would not
> function without Qt.  This falls under the exception for system
> libraries.  Whether source or binaries were provided would make no
> difference at all.

Then what's the problem (the non-Debian world is asking)? Go put Qt in
main and it becomes a system module and there's an exception for that
and everything is hunky dory. If there are still moral and ethical
problems combining the two, then just put KDE under contrib, and they
will no longer be distributed together. You've got the full sources for
both Free Software packages and you have the choice of distributing them
together or not. What's the problem again?

> The QPLed Qt library plus KDE components under the Artistic or LGPL
> licenses are not a problem.  Neither are KDE components licensed under
> the GPL but containing an exception clause in their license (something
> like "as an exception to the GPL, you may link this code to the Qt
> library distributed by Troll Tech...")

Then why not distribute the KDE libraries at the very minimum?

> Your perceptions of this issue are largely irrelevant.  It is an
> uncontested fact that a large plurality (if not a majority) of the
> community, including some of its leaders and founders, had a different
> perception of the facts. 

I would say it's contested! Where in the world are you getting your
numbers? I would hazard a guess that about half the Linux "community"
have no opinion one way or another. I'd say that's your majority right
there. As for the plurality, given that every distro but Debian
distributes KDE, I'll need some hard numbers before I'll believe that
"fact". Quick random poll of the building reveals two KDE boxes, two
Gnome boxes, and one Windowmaker box (and countless Solaris and NT
boxes). Both the Gnome boxes had Gnome installed by default. Both the
KDE boxes also had Gnome installed by default, but the users
deliberately chose KDE after the fact.

> If you want to allow either total BSD-like freedom or complete
> proprietariness, you should write a license that forbids any middle
> ground.  It strikes me as odd that someone would be pissed about the
> GPL's restrictions yet be perfectly cool with a complete loss of
> freedom.  I suppose that it takes all types.

The purpose of the GPL is not to avoid the middle ground. The reason
most BSD developers choose the BSD license is precisely because it isn't
restrictive. They have shared their code with everyone, neither asking
nor expecting anything in return. It is no insult to them if it is used
in GPL or proprietary code. What *IS* an insult to them is this constant
preaching about freedom by those advocating more restrictions.

David Johnson

Reply to: