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Re: Trolltech GPL violation?

On Tue, Jan 03, 2006 at 11:08:03PM +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> wrote:
> > On Tue, Jan 03, 2006 at 10:19:52AM +0100, Marco d'Itri wrote:
> >> asuffield@debian.org wrote:
> >> >Unfortunately the QPL is not a free license (although the
> >> Fortunately, most people disagree.
> > 
> >   The lurkers support me in email
> While I won't actually try to use this as an argument of fact, the
> majority of people I've spoken to about this don't feel happy about
> declaring the QPL non-free.

And about declaring KDE non-free because it has an invalid license,
and the GFDL, etcetera.

"Not being happy" about it is quite irrelevant and also a rather
strange things to say. Why would anybody be happy about discovering
that something in main isn't free? That's a rather dubious suggestion
to be making.

Such conversations usually take the form "waah, those evil
debian-legal bastards are trying to throw $foo out of main", rather
than "here are the things which this license does not permit you to
do, do you really think that's free?". As such they are in practice
little more than trolling and their results disinteresting.

> It's also worth noting that historically
> we've tended to agree with the FSF over whether a software license is
> free or not. The fact that this has started to change recently suggests
> that somebody's opinion is changing.
> (The fact that the FSF declared the QPL a free software license really
> quite a long time ago may offer some insight into who's changing here)

But that insight would be wrong. A little investigation into how the
FSF deals with these things would reveal that they have no public
analysis forum like debian-legal, and so they are most likely unaware
of the issues and their declaration would therefore be a mistake on
their part. Most likely, somebody just eyeballed it, said "yes, that
looks like it's supposed to be a free license", and added it to the

Given the glacial pace at which the FSF normally operates, we
(debian-legal) tend to get license bugs fixed before the FSF ever
notices them. We're simply faster and more thorough so we find these
things first. There's nothing interesting to see here - nothing is
actually changing between us and the FSF (except for the GFDL
strangeness - note that they agree with us that it's not a free
software license, but merely claim that it's a free 'something else',
without saying what that thing is).

All that's really changing is that we've got a few people with odd
agendas running around muck-flinging. Quite what this is supposed to
accomplish is unclear. The only result I can think of is to inhibit
the correction of licenses - effectively, to reduce the amount of free
software available.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
   `-             -><-          |

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