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SubjectRe: Linus Speaks About KDE-Bashing
On Sat, 11 Jul 1998, Alex Belits wrote:

> Lameness aside, the problem is that KDE is as much under GPL as the
> "stolen" code, and it shouldn't cause any problems unless GPL-ness of KDE
> is questioned, and this is what _real_ argument is about. The only known
> precedent of GPL application based on non-free toolkit is Motif-based
> GPL'ed code, and it seems like it was accepted that GPL'ed code can use
> Motif. What is so much different about Qt in that case I don't know,
That is because Motif is the official Unix GUI standard. Qt is some
library used to break the rights of GPL users. Very huge difference.
[snip]

> With Linux and *BSD the assumption that user can get Motif with every
Wrong. Lesstif has been in more or less useable state for some time now.
(And being binary compatible, ...)

> Qt license specifically grants the unlimited use of Qt for GPL'ed
> software, so if there is no legal problem with that, KDE is really under
> valid GPL. If not (or if GPL will be changed to make it invalid), code
Ok. I make binary only linux kernel:
-) I use a special libary that is under NDA. The license also says it's
100% to use it with GPLed software. (The analog of Qt, but using
a different limitation of license.)
-) Now it becomes shady, but I claim kind of system library status,
because every of these nice I2O boards come with the disc with the
library.

The argument is even more valid with user level applications, where
the system library exception is known and accepted. The problem here is,
what is a system library. Clearly the user may not be allowed to decide
this for himself. Why? Because if the user decides what is a system
library and what is not, then we have a problem with Linux:
What is a Linux distribution:
-) Some set of floppies.
-) A CD-R.
-) a silver CD?

I mean, any of these can be produced by any bad guy to circumvent the GPL.

So the orginal authors must decide what is a system library, and the FSF
decided that for it's GPL'ed software Qt is NOT a system library.
Seems like the Gimp people are taking the same stance.

So somehow the whole whining was about lost code, because without Harmony,
KDE is in a blocked position: They are not compatible with third party
(L)GPL.

> LGPL'ing KDE (so it will resolve linking problem explicitly) is
> impossible if it contains already GPL'ed "stolen" code.
Exactly. Additionally one should consider that the KDE people are trying
to do a STANDARD GUI desktop for Unix/Linux. In such a situation, the
legal stuff should be 100% Ok, it's quite a different question compared to
say some screensaver that could become indistributable.

Additionally, the whole KDE is without valid license, which probably
stops it being used by some distributions with a legal department like RH:
If one of the core developers of KDE someday comes to the conclusion that
Qt is not a system library, the whole KDE breaks down till his parts of
the code are replaced. Actually, many people from the Land of
Lawyers^H^H^H^H^H^H^HFreedom will not take this chance.

Andreas



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