non-free application linked to Qt.
A non-free program for which I maintain a package has changed its UI
toolkit from lesstif to Qt. The program is free for non-commercial use,
and upstream payed for a Qt licence. I understand that producing
binaries within Debian would be an infringement of the Qt licence.
Upstream has asked me if it would be possible to distribute the program
as a source package only, à la 'pine'. Can you confirm that it is the
case? Also, we are wondering if it is the first time this kind of
Upstream sells licences of its program for commercial use, so it is
difficult for them to free their code. The program exists in a graphical
version and a command line version. Both can operate independantly and
the command-line version is widely used on workstations. Would I be
legally wrong if I advised Upstream to separate the GUI code from the
algorithms, double-license the GUI under non-commercial or GPL terms,
and make it call the command-line version independantly (no C linking)?
In that case, I think that it would preserve their revenue model: people
who want to use the GUI for commercial use would have to buy a licence
for the commercial use of the command-line version anyway. But I do not
know if it would be fair to Trolltech. Or maybe the licence of the
command-line version could mandate that if the program is used through
the Qt GUI, a Qt license has to be bought?
The goal of this is to keep a gratis and open source access to the
program and its GUI to academic users, and require a commercial licence
from industrial users.
[Please CC me, I am not subscribed]
Have a nice day,
Wakō, Saitama, Japan