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Re: KDE not in Debian?

On Fri, Jan 28, 2000 at 05:31:58PM -0800, David Johnson wrote:
> 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.

However, the license does not forbid me from adding conditions to it.
It simply states, "you may redistribute if you do these three
things".  Do those three things, and you're fine.  You might also
force the user to sign a license agreement or NDA, or tell them that
they must also follow the restrictions of the GPL.  As long as those
do not contradict the terms of the BSD license, all of that is legal.

Isn't this what lots of people complain about with the GPL - that it
forces you to apply its terms to all subsequent redistributions?
Isn't that what *BSD people claim is an advantage of the BSD - that
you're free to add restrictions all you want, including take it

> > 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!


Although I'm not sure why you'd bother, since the original BSD
archive would, in theory, still exist, and it would be a lot easier to 
just distribute that.

But yes, as I said in my previous message, you can do this.

> > 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?

There has been a lot of debate in debian-legal as to whether even this
is allowed (putting KDE in contrib).  I believe the Debian project as
a whole does not consider Qt a "system module" (I don't believe even X 
is considered a "system module"), and that even putting KDE in contrib 
means that the Debian project is distributing them "together".  Don't
quote me on that, though; I'm not, personally, well acquainted with
that facet of the debate.

> > 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?

KDE libraries linked with Qt would be a problem, but I doubt any other 
KDE libraries would.  Not being the packager or a serious user of KDE, 
I couldn't tell you what libraries would be OK and what wouldn't.

One argument that might be used here is that it would be too much work 
to split the difference, especially if the Great Relicensing is on its 

> > 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.

The existence of this debate proves at least a significant plurality.
Otherwise, you could afford to ignore us, right?

Perhaps it is that our influence is stronger than our numbers because
there is a higher percentage of developers in our camp, whom you might
want to cooperate with in order to provide KDEized versions of certain 

Are you trying to cite numbers as a plausible argument to look down on 
us, or call our opinion irrelevant?  Again, that's not exactly the
best way to "win friends and influence people", especially if you are
hoping to cooperate with us in the future.

> > 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.

I have not preached about freedom.  In fact, I have asserted that the
BSD is, technically, more free than the GPL.  Were I to argue, I would
assert that the GPL helps to preserve freedom where the BSD license
does not, and is more successful precisely for this reason.

Given this, the BSD license is the "most free", proprietary licenses
are the "least free", and the GPL occupies a place in the middle.  If
the BSD license can accomodate the opposite extreme side of freeness
by allowing proprietary licensing, surely it can also accomodate the

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