Re: GPLv3 suggestion to solve KDE/QT problem and others
On Mon, Feb 21, 2000 at 09:37:48PM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 22, 2000 at 03:46:33AM +0200, Adi Stav wrote:
> > Alright. Let me change my suggestion: that the GPL allows adding
> > certain restriction to the distribution of a derived work combining a
> > GPL program and non-GPL programs if the non-GPL license demands
> > that.
> This is completely backwards. The GPL allows no such restrictions.
> However, copyright law allows the copyright owner to add additional
> copyrights, and the copyright owner can add the right which allows such
> restrictions to the rights granted in the GPL.
> I do understand that talking about adding the right to restrict rights
> seems a bit odd, but that's really what we're talking about.
The entire idea of the GPL is using copyright to oppose copyright. Of
course discussion of it may seem odd. Besides, the GPL already gives
people the right to restrict the right to sue them if the programs
breaks down, and other rights too. Any redistributable software gives
redistributors the right to restrict rights to some extent.
> > I suppose that the right restrictions would both avoid compromising
> > the freedom of that GPL code and add to the compatibility of the
> > GPL (although I guess the QPL is a lost case here). Are any such
> > restrictions possible?
> The GPL doesn't permit such restrictions.
> However, the FSF page that you've been refering to already gives you
> an example of a permissions clause which deals with the QPL/GPL
> compatability issue.
I'm talking about the general case, not only Qt.
When I'm writing a Free program I don't want to restrict other Free
programs from using its code, regardless of their license, as long as
1. this does not compromise the freedom of my own code, and 2. still
maximizes addition and corrections to my code as the GPL guarantees.
I was hoping other people see it the same way. I can't see for what
other reasons than the two above would anyone choose to GPL their
code. If everybody saw it this way, all there was to do was to upgrade
the GPL. Apparently this is not so, and I can't see why :)
> > > That denial of choice is what makes the QPL incompatible with the GPL.
> > >
> > > But the BSD license is considered free -- even though it doesn't offer
> > > the same protections as the GPL. So the QPL is also considered free: it
> > > doesn't offer the protections of the GPL, and there's some subtle gotchas,
> > > but at least you're allowed to make changes to it and redistribute the
> > > changes without paying a fee.
> > Wouldn't the main point be that QPL code cannot be reused even within
> > other QPL programs as you've said before?
> What QPL programs? QPL is a library.
Qt is a library. Qt is not the only product and Troll isn't the only
company that could possibly use the QPL (although I sure hope they
> And reuse doesn't really focus on the right issue. The issue is whether all
> users have full rights to distribute and modify the code and all derivatives
> of the code.
> The QPL guarantees that all users do not have such rights, thus it's
> incompatible with the GPL which guarantees that all users do have such
Is this really the issue, or is the issue the fact that modifications
cannot be copylefted? Consider a license very similar to BSDL, except
that it contains a clause saying that you can distribute binaries
under any license you like, but source code (modified or not) must be
distributed under the BSDL. Such a license would give all users equal
rights, but also ensure that you have no way to prevent your
modifications from becoming proprietary binaries.
Would you still consider such a license free? And will it be
compatible with the GPL?
> > Rethinking about it, it doesn't have to be so. You wouldn't be able to
> > paste QPL code into a QPL program anyhow, you'd have to distribute a
> > patch that combines the two programs and give both authors rights over
> > it. So it IS possible to reuse QPL code as long as it remains within
> > the QPL. Am I right?
> Well, you're right that QPL code can be reused. But you're wrong about
> this being the defining issue.
What about the patch clause? Even if the QPL didn't allow Troll to
demand modifications to themselves?
> > > > And I do see linking as different from a derived work in the
> > > > regular text-editor sense. You can't, for example, take GPL code,
> > > > modify it and license the result under the BSDL. Yet you can
> > > > take GPL code, modify functions through the use of a BSDL linked
> > > > library and release the result (the whole will be GPL but the
> > > > specific BSDL part will not be). This cannot be used to make the
> > > > GPL code proprietary because those BSDL modification will not
> > > > even be usable if made proprietary (they need to be linked to the
> > > > original GPL work to work).
> > >
> > > How does this differ from an #include file which is kept under the
> > > BSD license?
> > Same thing. And the same thing with the QPL, too. So what if Troll can
> > make the QPL parts' modifications proprietary? These parts will be
> > useless without the GPL parts! The work gone into the GPL parts will
> > not become proprietary, regardless.
> This doesn't even make sense. You can't legally have a work which has
> both QPLed and GPLed parts, unless you relax the GPL's guarantees that
> everyone can modify and redistribute any fork of the code. At which point
> there isn't really much point in using the GPL and you might as well just
> use some other license...
Not fork. Only additions. And only under free licenses. And yes, I
meant the GPL if and once it's changed to allow what I was
describing. Lets say, the GPL with the added Qt clause as suggested by
the FSF as the most conservative example. This does not put the
freedom of that modified-GPL code in jeopardy in any way, nor does it
limit the maximization of fixes and impovements.
> > But I wonder if it is at all possible for a license to be
> > GPL-compatible and not allow GPL relicensing.
> What is "GPL relicensing"?
By relicensing I meant distributing someone else's software (with or
without modifications) under a different license than the one you got
it under. GPL relicensing is therefore redistributing said software
under the GPL.
- Adi Stav