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Re: Debian Weekly News - June 27th, 2000

Hamish Moffatt <hamish@debian.org> writes:

> You misunderstand. We would be the ones infringing those authors'
> rights if we distributed binary packages. We distribute Qt, and the GPL
> exemption clause won't allow us to distribute both KDE and Qt together
> if we want the exemption.


> What makes you think things not suitable for non-free are suitable
> for some other repository? You're suggesting a site full of
> illegal .deb packages! Go ahead and do that if you want to,
> but it seems like a pretty dumb thing to do.
> Any package legally allowed in non-free will be accepted. Any package
> legally not allowed in non-free probably can't be distributed elsewhere
> either.

Interestingly, you have pointed out a big exception: If someone else
were to consider Debian's qt something "normally distributed ... with
the major components ... of the operating system on which the
operating system on which the executable runs" then they could legally
distribute kde even though Debian cannot as long, as they link to the
regular Debian qt libraries and don't distribute the qt libraries

It does make me wonder how far the "normally distributed" exemption
goes for non-debian distributors.  The components "normally
distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major
components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of [Debian]" include
everything in main, it would appear.  The Official Debian distribution
includes three CD's worth of programs, and the whole thing --
including programs with GPL-incompatible licenses -- appears to be
fair game for for a GPL program to link with, so long as Debian only
distributes the GPL-incompatible program, not the GPL one.  (That, of
course, helps to answer my query as to how far the exemption goes:
only to the point of free but GPL-incompatible programs in debian.  If
the program with which the non-debian GPL program is intended to link
were not free, it would not be normally distributed with debian.)

--Miguel Wooding

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