Re: When will KDE and Debian get together?

Subject: Re: When will KDE and Debian get together?
From: Joseph Carter (
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 14:10:38 CEST

On Thu, May 25, 2000 at 12:19:05PM +0200, J . H . M . Dassen wrote:
> While Qt2 is under a free license (after a drafing process in which Debian's
> Joseph Carter provided extensive feedback), this license, the QPL, is
> unfortunately not compatible with the GPL. This has been pointed out to
> Troll Tech, but has not resulted in changes in the QPL.

Much of it ignored. Or at least, tentatively agreement and acceptance
with last-minute rewriting.

Bottom line: There's an underlying problem with KDE. GPL software and Qt
(any version released so far) have incompatible licenses. KDE knows this,
but they don't wish to be burdoned by the touchy legal situation admitting
this problem would create for them, so they openly attack the GPL or
outright ignore the problem.

Troll Tech is in an ideal position to solve this problem, but isn't really
willing to do so out of spite for the GPL, for Richard Stallman, and for
the "Free Software community" (or much more accurately, the Slashdot
community, most of whom are just trolls and bandwagon-hoppers) who flamed
them for encouraging people to violate the GPL by claiming it was legal to
use Qt with GPL'd applications.

All that is required by a GPL'd application to be linked with Qt is a
specific exemption for Qt from being considered part of the software. A
few authors are unwilling to provide that (I'm not, but so far none of my
code is used within KDE to my knowledge..) but the vast majority of people
I've talked to say they would if asked.

The KDE people seem to believe that those who object will find out their
code is being used and make sure to tell them to stop using it.
Forgiveness is easier to get than permission it seems. There are a few
people out there genuinely hostile to KDE because of their clear belief
they can do what they want because it's not like anyone is going to sue
them for it.

Nobody really wants to talk about this sort of problem in KDE. Companies
such as Red Hat simply ask their lawyers if using KDE will get them sued
and their lawyers answer that nobody is going to sue them over KDE, so it
gets included.

Someone needs to talk about it. Allowing this to continue jepardizes the
GPL, setting clear precedent for how this untested license will be
interpretted if ever people wind up going to court with it - I've already
been witness to projects which have openly defied the GPL.

The QuakeLives project, a project based on Id Software's QuakeWorld source
code released under the GPL last summer, is a prime example. First they
tried to release source code for most of their QuakeWorld-based project,
but leaving out a few key files necessary to compile or use it. Then they
released a new version under the GPL's terms lacking the features they
left code out of their last release for.

That point on, they have refused to provide ANY source for ANY release,
attempting such things as "closed" beta testing (if you got the client and
asked for source, you weren't an official beta tester and therefore your
GPL'd binary was "warez" so they didn't have to give you anything) to
binary patches for their precompiled binary to moving all of their code
into a DLL without which the binary would not run to a click-through
agreement in which you "gave up your right" to source to be allowed access
to binaries!

Their excuses in all these cases are very similar to the excuses KDE has
given people about their own legalities. Which is exactly the point: KDE
is actively working to tear down the GPL simply so they can do something
they know (and many of them even admit) they shouldn't be doing because
it's too late to change now. It's not like they'll be sued for it, right?

Joseph Carter <>               GnuPG key 1024D/DCF9DAB3
Debian GNU/Linux (         20F6 2261 F185 7A3E 79FC
The QuakeForge Project (   44F9 8FF7 D7A3 DCF9 DAB3

<JHM> Being overloaded is the sign of a true Debian maintainer.

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