Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

GNU is Not Unix

RMS on the GPLing of Qt and More 231

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wrapping-this-story-up dept.
infodragon sent us a Linux Today story by RMS [?] where he weighs in on the recent news about the GPLing of Qt. I'm sure that there will be a lot more about this over the week.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RMS on the GPLing of Qt and More

Comments Filter:
  • Baloney.

    How many people combined SSH (not OpenSSH) with Linux or *BSD?

    How many people combined XForms with Linux or *BSD?

    How many people combined QT with Linux or *BSD?

    Now here is the tricky part:

    How many of these people have been sued/burned/hogtied?

  • Linux is just a kernel but it sure as hell needs a user friendly front end to attract popular support, and this is where KDE/Gnome have helped. Other X Window desktop environments prior to these two quite frankly sucked big time, and hence no non-literate computer user would've touch Linux with a barge pole.

    GNU/Linux really *is* a better description of the body of software that constitutes your average Linux Distro

    As you pointed out yourself, there are lots of other apps that make up the average Linux application nowadays, and I am not going to recite the names of all 650 odd of them just to be precise; I'm going to continue to say Linux and leave it at that.

    Just because I write an application in Visual Basic on a Windows machine doesn't mean I call it:


    I wasn't trying to disparage the work that people have put into the Free Software movement.

    In fact, GNU was there first, and wrote more of the overall pie
    I'm not sure that GNU stuff does contribute more of the overall pie now that everyone is busy writing the filling, although I happily accept it has supplied a lot of the crust that holds everything else together :-). Anyway GNU wasn't there first, AT&T distributed Unix and toolkit under a fairly open & cheap licence. Like most things GNU evolved from that, even if the evolution step was a big leap forwards.

    How can you possibly look down upon him? He is far more important to the Free Software community than you or I could ever be. He arguably *created* the movement. In taking him so lightly, you just look ridiculous.

    Anyway, I wrote a faster implementation of DeCSS for the Linux DVD guys, but I don't want the player naming after me. Even if I had written more than a paltry 3-400 lines of code for it, the point of the Free software movement is anyone can use it in any way they see fit without deifying anyone in order to do so.

    Anyway, your opinion was on topic and thought provoking, so quit being Anonymous and have the courage to send your next lot with a User name attached to it.
  • "These licenses only dictate what you can do to the code. Big deal. I've never even LOOKED at the KDE code... I have more important things to do than GUI programming." The license dictates who controls the software and who controls your machine and/or your business. This is the reason free (as in speech) software is important. Under the GPL you have control of the product if you want to send it to someone you can if you want to modify it or if you want a bug fix you can do it and or get someone to do it for you. You are not given these rights under any other license or at least not in the absolute that you are with the GPL. It is a simple matter of whe is running your life your computer and your business. You or someone else with the GPL you have the freedom to do what you want as long as it does not take the freedom away from anyone else.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here is term 4:

    4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt
    otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
    However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as
    such parties remain in full compliance.

    Relicensing the software to overcome the termination is trivial, and doesn't require permission from the original author.

    You can relicense the software by just accepting the terms of the license. You don't even need to stand in your office and say "I license it again".
  • "There is no reason that KDE and Gnome need to either be rivals or be merged."

    Huh?? If they're not merged then they remain two distinct projects, with the essentially the same goal - to provide the best possible desktop available on .*n.x

    How can they not be rivals?
  • by jonabbey (2498) <> on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @07:44AM (#804891) Homepage

    Despite the masterful first sentence, the 'Hope this helps' tag line marks this post as the work of a troll who got himself a fancy account name.

    Since RMS has never been known to participate in Slashdot flamefests, I'm extremely skeptical that this is genuine.

  • Could it be that the GPV isn't as ironclad as RMS and his cult followers would have us believe?

    All licenses (the GPL is not excepted) are only as ironclad as the degree to which they are enforced.

    One of the reasons the KDE situation bothers RMS so much, I think, is that the KDE developers were being so cavalier about the terms of the GPL, and undermining it as an enforcable license as a result.

  • Misusing a GPL-covered program permanently forfeits the right to distribute the code at all.

    Is that right? If I take a GPL'd program, make a change, and give a binary to my brother, I cannot then ever distribute the source to my change under the GPL? One strike and you're out! That seems a bit OTT.

  • ..they shouldn't be flamed for it by the 'leader' of OSS.

    RMS is not "the leader of OSS". He rejects the phrase "Open Source" since he believes the term does not adequately put across the "freedom" part of Free Software.
  • by JoeBuck (7947) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @08:04AM (#804900) Homepage

    KDE developers who took GPL-licensed code whose copyright belonged to the FSF, and linked it to Qt, and distributed the result violated the GPL. The GPL itself specifies a penalty for this action: the person doing it forfeits all rights to copy and modify the program at all. That means that if RMS really wanted to be an asshole, he could shut down Mandrakesoft (for putting out a KDE distribution when they knew full well about this), by enforcing this clause against them (they wouldn't be able to distribute vital parts of the GNU/Linux system).

    What RMS is saying is that he is waiving this penalty in the interests of ending this thing.

    So when you ask "Who are you? God?" the answer is no, he is the copyright owner whose license has been violated.

  • Unix was developed at the Bell Laboratories.

    ... by a bunch of guys fiddling around with new principles, without a specific commercial goal (though, of course, you're right about the lab). It was used because it was useful, but there was no requirement or assurance that it would be. Bell Labs was rather unique in the freedom from commercial pressures its Fellows enjoyed at that time, and developed many useful and robust things (like unix) in a research environment very like the acedemic research labs (and a few flops, but not many, 'cause the Fellows were chosen for their track record, smarts and work habits). It was an example of the commercial world embracing the ivory tower research model.

  • I just found a great text-mode borwser with dynamic loading and table support, in addition to color and mouse support: called links. It works great, but as of now it holds cache and cookies in memory only. The cookie thing is good everywhere except /. Oh well. Still I'm composing this in links now.

    Check it out:
    Make sure your terminal is bigger than 80x24 (slightly); tables are bound to be wide.
  • by jallen02 (124384) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:03AM (#804907) Homepage Journal
    I do some minor development on windows doing some stuff using MFC yes its the most horrible 's h i t' I have ever used as a software developer. Okay a lot of MFC's problems have to do with the fact that Microsoft is so loosely organized their various departments turn good ideas into SHIT anyways enough of the semi-pro microsoft rant I want people to see this post after all...

    I was looking into developing an app in Windows using Qt, I checked over the spec sheet looked at some Pure Qt programs and I was damn impressed with how clean the programming for it was.

    I did a fair amount of GTK programming as well and I must say that the Syntax for GTK can be tedious.. its very well down for a C library but the syntax can get you some of the time, not that it bothers me but learning it was kind of annoying some late nights.

    Anyhow my point is coming, I really liked Qt so much that I was fixing to write a nice app in it.. then I noticed something. Only the Unix version was free. Now they are GPL'ing Qt, my question is and yes I have read maybe I missed it but, wheres the Free version for windows?

    Most people dont ever realize that Qt is totally not free in windows (as far as I know :) So that blows. Yeah sure its nice to write an app in Qt but potr it to windows??? Owch.... Ugh.. anyways I dont think they GPL'd anything but the X11 version.

    Its okay I mean most of you guys wont ever notice.. but Qt is not totally free

  • by Th3 D0t (204045) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:03AM (#804908)
    Will the GPLing of Qt have any effect on the development of Kylix, which uses Qt, but is itself closed source?
  • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @11:18AM (#804909) Homepage Journal

    Just because there's a clause in a license or contract, does not mean that it's enforceable.

    "By agreeing to this, if later found in breach, you will kill your second son, and name your third daughter Shlep."

    Just because the GPL says that someone found in breach of license gives away other rights, does not necessarily mean that the victi- er, breachor actually would lose their rights to the portions of software they actually did contribute or bundle.

  • by LennyDotCom (26658) <> on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:04AM (#804910) Homepage Journal
    why does everyone start a flame war over what is meant to be a good announcement?
    Maybe people should focus more on the good FACTS of the announcement
    and less on someones personal feelings
    "Go get 'em, gnomes!" big deal thats called "esprit de corps"

    Can't we all just get along?

    Don't bother flaiming my spelling or grammer it will only be ignored
    just like I ignored my english teachers ;-)
  • by dimator (71399) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @11:22AM (#804912) Homepage Journal
    That means that if RMS really wanted to be an asshole,...

    What do you mean "wanted to be"? Here is a man who get's exactly what he wanted (GPL'ing of Qt) and not once does he say thank you to trolltech in this whole article. Instead, he switches from license bashing, to other forms of insults.

    And how about that one article a while ago that told of how he insulted a guy he was having dinner with and refused to speak with him simply because he spoke of proprietary software? (sorry, no link)

    Sounds like an asshole to me.

  • Troll tech did write thier own license, remember.

    And what freedom was restricted that the GPL grants?

    The problem was that GNU is a monotheistic licence. And the GNU coolition has a great followings that will boycott any other license but the GPL.
  • Just because there's a clause in a license or contract, does not mean that it's enforceable.

    Then just what is a license good for?
  • No, you'd only suffer the penalty if your brother asked for the source code for your change, and you refused, and you still refused when he went to the copyright owner of the GPL'ed work and asked for enforcement.

    A GPL'ed work is just as copyrighted as any commercial application. Refusing to comply with the license is a serious matter, and if you do it there is a price to pay.

  • Gnome went beta ages ago. You need not be sarcastic. If you've tried GNOME recently you already know this.
  • So what do we have?
    • Qt is free if you're developing a free app
    • To develop a commercial app, you must purchase a commercial Qt license
    • KDE uses Qt
    Nothing has changed. Nothing. (Unless you count the Debian-esque "GPL + QPL == illegal" rants.)

  • The way i see it, this will probably really only take the gloves off in the KDE vs Gnome battles.

    I mean, these folks bicker constantly. Do you honestly thing that having compatible licenses will make everything better? Heck, I half expect to see a statement from debian to the effect of "We're still not going to package your desktop, because we just don't like you, Nyah!"

    Personally, I'm riding the fence on this one. Hate the gnome panel, hate KDE's separate panel and taskbar, hate the look & feel of QT apps anyhow. I haven't seen a desktop environment since OS/2's Workplace Shell with StarDock's Object Desktop addon that i really liked, so I'm using IceWM with no file manager and no silly icons all over the screen. (For the record, Ice's toolbar looks like Lotus SmartCenter, and Win9x looks like SmartCenter)

  • by harmonica (29841) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:42AM (#804927)
    But GNOME is here, and is not going to disappear. GNOME and KDE will remain two rival desktops, unless some day they can be merged in some way. Until then, the GNU Project is going to support its own team vigorously. Go get 'em, gnomes!

    That's supposed to be the spirit of free software? Our (== FSF) project must win? What about freedom of choice? Or 'may the best product win'? Yes, he didn't say that KDE has no right to live. But KDE is a very high quality piece of free software, and once two competing products are released under 'his' GPL, Stallman should really talk about them on the basis of their technical merits. Or not talk about them at all, given his position in the world of free software and the fact that the political issues around KDE are now resolved.
  • by teraflop user (58792) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:08AM (#804929)
    No, its not all resolved. Any software created by linking a `GPL-without-special-implied-permission' component with a QT2.2 library remains unlicensed. An example of such code is the wv (formerly mswordview) code used in the Kword-MSword input filter. Such software has no legal license and therefore cannot be distributed.

    By granting retrospective permission, the FSF has rendered all such software which uses FSF-copyright code legal. Other copyright holders may or may not chose to follow suit.

    Of course there is now no barrier to futuer incorporation of GPL code. Gimp/QT (KIMP) is suddenly back on the cards.

    The prospect of merging some of the better features also looks more promising these days, since both projects seem to be de-integrating some of their components. For example, gdk-pixbuf can now be built without GTK, DCOP objects are not dependent on QT. Maybe Gnome will follow KDE and replace esd with aRTs.
  • by fence (70444) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:08AM (#804930) Homepage
    RMS on the GPLing of Qt and More

    I would have thought that `more` would have been placed under the GPL long ago...
    Interested in the Colorado Lottery?
  • QT2.2 should of course have read QT<2.2.

    Forgot the htmlization, sorry.
  • It seems to me that a fundamental flaw of Mr. Stallman's open source philosophy is that it implies that adherance to his particular license is of more importance than the overal quality and value of a product.

    It's your perspective that is flawed. Aside from the nitpick of Stallman being a free software rather than open source advocate, Stallman recognizes that that the quality and value of a product can (and will) be improved by the user/developer community if it is free, but non-free software, however good, can only be improved or freed by the copyright holder.

    The latter case is far more limiting upon users than the former. A good (but flawed, as is virtually all software) proprietary product may in the short term meet an immediate need better than a poor or mediocre open/free product, but the user of the former is held hostage to the whim of the proprietor for any bugfixes or improvements. The user of the latter is free to fix/change the software himself (or if not competent to do so, to hire anyone else to do it), and in the long term, the free product will likely end up better than than any closed equivalent.

    Stallman certainly recognizes this. So what you call a "flaw" in the above quote is, in fact, not a bug but a feature.

    No, no, no. It ain't ME babe,
    It ain't ME you're looking for.
  • It remains to be seen in a court of law.

    When a judge sees "give up other rights," said judge might laugh and strike it down as overly vague or ambitious.

    You can write anything you want, and the other parties can sign anything they want. That's the "gentleman's agreement" that is now a matter of record for a court case. It is not until a judge sees the terms of the agreement, that it is shown to be, or not to be, enforceable.

  • RMS does not have an open source philosophy. He has a free software philosophy. He has stated many times that he will use free software whenever possible, even if it is inferior in quality to proprietary software. From that point of view, the continued success of Linux does not depend on corporate mindshare. The the continued success of Linux depends only on it being available to anyone who wants to be free to use their computer.


  • But it's only GNU/Linux if it's a distribution based on GNU tools. As of yet, I haven't seen any other systems with non-GNU tools (not speaking of applications such as X-Chat), but it's entirely possible. Despite that, I'll agree that I still like to think of it merely as "Linux" because well... that's the heart of my OS.
  • Then don't read the story. Probably 90% of the people using KDE didn't really care about the licence issue. You might say that they're "not interested" in this story. For the other 10%, they were (maybe only as a spectator) involved in the issue and thus would be "interested" in the aftermath. I'm just not following. Just because a story is posted on Slashdot, it does not mean that you have an obligation to post a comment about it. I don't write a letter to the editor of the newspaper every day and say "why would you have a sports section if I don't find it interesting?! I don't care what the Toronto Maple Leafs are doing!"
  • I doubt the maintainers of, say,
    Pine and Mutt see themselves as rivals. They are just merrily going about their business and scratching their own itch.

    I would argue that Pine and mutt, for instance, are scratching a single itch: an email program. KDE and GNOME comprise dozens and dozens (hundreds?) of individual programs, not to mention the core components (themselves programs). There's dozen of itches, and each team must do all the same work over, in a sense. This kinda thing bothers RMS (ever read the Xemacs schism?), apparently.
  • by fridgepimp (136338) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:16AM (#804957) Homepage
    Also, where code was copied from other GPL-covered programs, their copyright holders need to be asked for forgiveness. To lead the way, the FSF hereby grants this forgiveness for all code that is copyright FSF.

    Oh what a wicked generation of thieves and harlots. Repent now, and be saved. Accept the One True Way(tm).

    Blessed are they who walk among the gnomes, for they will be Free(tm).

    Blessed are those change their licenses, for they will be forgiven.

    Blessed are those who assign copyright to the FSF, for they will inherit the Kingdom of GNU(tm).

    If you truly be followers of RMS, you must daily take up your soapbox and follow him.

    --1 Perenthians 2:14-20

    (this is clearly a troll...i couldn't resist)

  • If you follow the letter of the GPL no. Clause 4 says:
    You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
    So if you keep using the same copy of that code later (even if you then comply with the GPL rules) you may not distribute that copy. But you could ofcourse just ask (get from ftp a web site, etc.) a new fresh copy which does grant you those permission again :)
  • by costas (38724) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @08:44AM (#804965) Homepage
    I'd just like to point out that the most successful OSS projects out there are not managed or led by people that are as unsociable and well, stubborn (to put it mildly) as RMS.

    Here's TrollTech, effectively surrendering to the hordes of Gnomes --that kept complaining about a great product, covered under a certified OSS license-- and this man doesn't just give a congrats, "welcome to the team" message, but has to remind us the history of KDE/Qt. He's effectively saying "It doesn't matter what they're doing now; it doesn't matter that I have won, that they have asked for forgiveness. We should still beat them to a painful merge with Gnome, because they dared to release software under a license other than my own". Yuck. He may be justified in his beliefs, he may be actually morally right (and I do agree with him on a lot of things), but if RMS was my boss, I'd quit my job in a nano-second.

    Look at Linus, look at Larry Wall, the Apache Group (really the prototype for an OSS effort); they have made great software without alienating anybody, much less half of the community. Would you work for Linus Torvalds? I would. Would you take a job with Larry Wall as your supervisor? In a minute. Would you take orders from Brian Behlendorf? Most probably.

    Would you want to be in the same code team as RMS? Would you?

  • I think the relevent clause is 6. It states you can't apply further restrictions on distribution. The BSD license doesn't; it just requires the copyright notice to remain intact, same as GPL section 1. the (old) QPL did apply further restrictions regarding what platform your code was written for and whether or not it was free.

    Section 3 states that unless a library is a "major component (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the
    operating system", it must be distributed with the same constraints. The usual pro-KDE argument is the Qt libraries fit into the above catagory.
  • That being said: It seems that the KDE developers, no matter what they do, no matter what good intentions they hold, always gets bashed by the GNU/GNOME/RMS camp.

    I TOTALLY agree with you. I'm a gnome user too, and havn't got a singe KDE-app installed.

    But these eternal fights of GPL bullying other OSS projects into submission is leaving me sick.

    The word "free" is loosing it's meaning every time GPL victimises another OSS project.

    GPL have become a relegion noone dare question, more than a sane choice, as it should be.
    I thought the Open Source movement was about freedom. But now we are left with to evils. GPL og M$...


  • This whole debate has been an eyeopener for me. A few months back, I would have blindly picked GPL as a suitable license for software I create. Now I know that that severely limits the ways in which my software can be used. When I make my software 'free', to me that means enabling anybody to do whatever pleases them with my software. For me this also includes bundling it with software I don't have access to.

    Perhaps it would be a nice idea to make a license wizard. Just toggle all the features you want in it (GPL compatibility, the right to bundle with binary code, etc.) and the wizard spits out a suitable license.
  • Sure, freedom is very important. But IMHO, it has nothing to do with software. I was caught up in RMS's rhetoric also until I realized that he was distorting the word "free" for his own purposes. By using "free", he is milking a word we have grown to worship, and is indirectly comparing closed source software to jails and fascist governments. This has the natural tendency to attract people to his beliefs, when in fact no such ethical issues arise with software (according to most people's fundamental values, anyway; I can't speak for yours or RMS', of course). And then he goes and accuses proprietary developers of misusing the word "piracy"!

    Just because it is possible to modify and copy software, does not imply it is a fundamental human right, as RMS suggests with his use of the word "freedom". Just because it is physically possible for me to drive on the wrong side of the road, does that mean my freedom is being unfairly restricted by the policemen who stop me from doing so?

    And please, drop the "enemy" stuff. Big companies aren't full of evil monsters but people like you and me and RMS, with values and a sense of ethics. Bill Gates honestly believes that by leading the software world, he is doing it a big service. Nobody is trying to oppress you.

  • KDE has always been GPL. The idea that there could be
    source-to-source conflict between KDE and GPL code sounds to me to
    turn on legal subtleties that I doubt RMS, pace his status as
    co-author of the GPL, is at all qualified to judge.

    True, KDE has always been GPL'd. However, the GPL states quite clearly that you can't distribute binaries of GPL'd software linked against non-GPL'd libraries. Since KDE was linked to QT, which was *not* GPL'd, it was illegal to distribute KDE binaries.

    RMS did that on purpose. He wanted to make sure that a completely free (in GPL'd terms) system existed. By adding the linking-against-non-GPL'd libraries requirement was in the GPL, he was trying to ensure that there was *no* dependency on non-free software.

    Honestly, why is this so difficult for some people to grasp?
  • by GerryG (3120) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @06:56AM (#804979) Homepage
    "The design of KDE was based on a fundamental mistake: use of the Qt library..." I think that RMS intends to say that the decision to base KDE on a non-free library was a mistake, not that the design of KDE was a bad programming decision because of it's use of Qt. If the design of KDE is based on a mistake and Qt is bad, why does it work so well and so many people use it and write for it?

    I think that the fundamental mistake is for anyone to promote commercial over free or free over commercial. Or even one type of free over another. In my mind, one should promote what is better - efficient, high quality, flexible, and easy to use. Promoting competition is important, too, so that something that might become better has a chance to. Promoting software with one type of licensing over another is silly because it has very little to do with which whether the software is better.

    It disturbs me to think that anyone would support a smear campaign against software just because it is not properly licensed as the 'only' free license (GPL). In stating that KDE "posed a risk to the progress of free software", I think that something even worse is happening - RMS poses a risk to the progress of good software and real competition. In many respects, RMS is the Bill Gates the open-source movement - a monopolist who wishes to control software development and the people that practice it. If it's not GPL, it's not free. If it's not GPL, it's not good. If it's not GPL, you shouldn't use it. Sounds like FUD to me, and that's scary.

    Part of the problem I'm seeing is people promoting rather than supporting. The open-source movement is great, and has done well because of the people supporting it, not because of the people promoting it. Zealotry in licensing is, in my opinion, hindering the development of good software. One of the reasons to have free software is to allow people to use tools and libararies without restriction - allowing programmers to build the best software they can. The license for one piece of software doesn't make it better than another - the programmers that support the software make it better.

    RMS's statment that we should "help replace KDE/Qt with something entirely free" could have an effect that he doesn't want - people passing over his beloved GPL for something that really is 'entirely free'. By making a stink over 'tainted' licensing and illegal use of so called 'free' software, the whole reason for having free software is being dishonored. If you're going to make your software free, make it truly free - let anyone use for whatever they want to! The only software that is really 'free' is that which is not licensed, not copyrighted, not patented, and has no restrictions whatsoever. The term for this is generally called 'public domain'. If people can perform illegal acts by using 'free' GPL software, then it is not truly 'free'.

    Until we live in a Star Trek society where currency means nothing and everyone's needs are met, products will exist that are not free or free with restrictions that are better than the free ones. Please consider the fact that people might want to choose 'better' over 'free', and don't call them evil for exercising their right to freedom of choice! And if somebody wants to use free software in a commercial product, let them. If the software is good, the product will be good, and that's what we truly want - good software!

    When blanket statments like KDE "recruited helpers who shared their views" are made, it does a disservice to the people that choose to work on it because they believe that it provides them with something (technologically speaking) that another product (GNOME, CDE, Motif, etc.) does not. Not everyone is as obsessed with licensing as you are. Some people like C++ better than C. Some people think Qt is easier to work with and KDE is more stable to develop for than GNOME. Some people would rather do CORBA. Some people like ultra-customizable skins and fancy desktop decoration and personalization. At this time, I don't think one is really that much better than the other, and hey, different strokes for different folks. But don't dishonor other's choices because they choose differently. Don't tell them what to do. Just present the facts and let them decide!

    Meditate on these questions and come up with your own opinion: What makes software free? How do I differentiate good software from bad software? If it's good, does it matter if it's free or not? If it's free, does it matter if it's good or not? Are freedom of choice and competition important?
  • <preach_to_choir> That is a really good point, if RMS likes Gnome better so what yes he has a lot of influence but thats like saying

    ESR You are such a influential member of the Open Source community I dont think you saying Fetchmail is better than xyz mail retrival program is fair.. BITE ME.

    Go tell Microsoft to stop saying windows is better than xyz product.

  • It seems that the KDE developers, no matter what they do, no matter what good intentions they hold, always gets bashed by the GNU/GNOME/RMS camp.

    GNU hackers fear the unfamiliar - years of subtle incompatibilities between dozens of versions of Unix (and now dozens of distros of Linux) have made them twitchy and distrustful of anything except strict GNU orthodoxy. An acronym that doesn't start with G immediately sets mental alarm bells ringing:

    "This isn't one of our projects... it must come from outside. It could be contaminated! Un-free heretic! Burn the witch! This is a local shop for local people, etc"

    KDE could stop the flamewars tomorrow if they renamed their project GDE.

  • by MenTaLguY (5483) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:19AM (#804985) Homepage

    How many people combined SSH (not OpenSSH) with Linux or *BSD?

    Nobody, at least not in contravention of the licenses. Mere agregation is not the same thing as linking (the GPL does make an explicit distinction).

    The same applies to the rest of your examples. The licensing problems came in when GPLed code (e.g. KOffice) was linked to Qt at compile time and the binaries distributed.

    If you don't understand runtime/compile-time dependencies and linking, you are really not qualified to speak on this.

    (moreover, your BSD example is bogus; the BSD license essentially lets you do whatever you want -- it'd be entirely legal to link a BSD-licenced app with Qt)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I highly doubt Troll Tech would have GPLed Qt without the existance of KDE and the pressure it put on the company to open source their code. I think the developer team should be congratulated for helping further the OSS movement...they shouldn't be flamed for it by the 'leader' of OSS.
  • Sure, RMS' missive on the great Qt relicensing could be taken as arrogant, but I don't believe it is. RMS has worked for 16 years to produce the foundations of modern free UNIX, and all of that work rests on the foundation of the GNU General Public License. If free software as he has defined it and worked for is going to thrive, the GPL has got to mean what it says. Any erosion or confusion by subtle redefinition or violation of the terms of the GPL put the whole thing at risk, in my opinion. Would folks here have preferred that the FSF sued the KDE developers for the alleged GPL violations?

    Richard has always been stubborn and exacting in his quest for a viable free software substrate for computing, this should come as no surprise to anyone. That stubbornness has gotten the job done to an astonishing degree. Whichever desktop you choose, you now have the power and the right to hack on its internals, to make modifications, and to distribute them without paying a dime to anyone, so long as you grant others the same rights. That's a big win for all of us, and it's an especially big win for the current and prospective KDE community and users. Richard felt that a point needed to be made on this happy occasion to reinforce the importance and meaning of the GPL, and I see his logic. If we act as if the GPL 'just sorta' constrains behavior with GPL'ed resources, then we 'just sorta' have the guarantees that the GPL is supposed to convey and promote.

  • by MustardMan (52102) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:22AM (#804992)
    Why is it that everyone always insists on flaming everything RMS says? RMS has the balls to do what few people in this world do, to stand up for his ideals and make a statement. Sure, he does evangelize, and sure, he does get melodramatic. But isn't that the point? When you believe wholeheartedly in something, and have dedicated your entire life to those beliefs, shouldn't things be dramatic to you? Shouldn't you be proud of standing up for something you believe in? RMS doesn't hold back because he's scared people will hate him or think him a fool, he states his views with pride and doen't pretend to fit in with the status quo. I believe our modern world of political correctness, plaster smiles, and double dealing could benefit from some upfront honesty and true beliefs. Look for a second what RMS is actually trying to accomplish people: A community of sharing and giving. Instead of judging everything he says, we should all respect the man for doing what so few of us have had the nerve to do: for standin up, shouting out his beliefs, then actually spending a good deal of his life WORKING to make those beliefs a REALITY. Whether you like him or not, and whether you believe his ideals or not, show the man the respect he deserves for standing up for what he cares about. I for one know I have never had the stones to go as far as he has for his beliefs.
  • by maroberts (15852) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:22AM (#804994) Homepage Journal
    To use a famous phrase 'He would say that, wouldn't he'.

    Having GNOME and KDE as competitors has been good for Linux (*NOT* GNU/Linux as RMS fatuously keeps saying), despite the flamewars that have consumed thousands of hours which would have been better spent in developing the desktops. The cross fertilisation of ideas and programs has meant that both desktops have benefited.

    The benefits of programming in C++ (stricter interfaces) seem to have resulted in KDE being more stable, whilst OTOH the fact that more people understand C has meant that GNOME has perhaps come faster quicker.
  • That's supposed to be the spirit of free software? Our (== FSF) project must win? What about freedom of choice?

    You seem to be reading too much into the Go get 'em, gnomes! statement. I don't see it as implying that one project will "win". What would this mean in the first place? Has vi won? Has emacs won? Has Xemacs won?

    The important thing to remember is that the two projects have different approaches to modularity and desktop integration. By being able to compete on equal footing, the outcome will be very benefficial for the end user, because now only the technical side will matter. I am certain that pieceful co-existance of the two desktops is entirely possible, and we'll see it very soon. The most interesting times for this rivalry are yet to come!
  • Here is the thing. GNOME started to make a free (speech) alternative to KDE/Qt. If Trolltech had instantly changed the license to GPL I would guess that GNOME would have been canceled.

    Since then, GNOME has grown to a huge thing. RMS will not tell all the users to switch to KDE and all the developers to stop or switch. The developers want to continue, so they will continue.

    The "go get 'em" doesn't mean he wants to crush KDE. He has already stated that now KDE/Qt can be seen as a contribution and not a threat. He just cheers the team he sympathizes the most. Maybe because even if they are free now, they have generaly shown that they don't think freedom is as valuable as RMS/FSF does.
  • by Enahs (1606) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:37AM (#804999) Journal
    He couldn't quite manage to argue that the QPL was non-free, but he did manage to argue that it was
    incompatible with the GPL (I doubt this claim would stand up in court)

    See this site on this very topic.

    I did.

    And guess what? There's just a claim that the license is incompatible, along with a disclaimer that can be added to the COPYING file that somehow magically makes it all compatible.

    The real issue: an ambiguous reading of the GPL that claims that dynamic linking is a derivative work. It's a dubious claim, and one that most certainly wouldn't win in a court of law (although IANAL) without a lot of legal posturing. That Troll Tech caved in is proof that they were merely tired of hearing the whining. I mean, come on, they offered the toolkit free for free (as in beer AND speech) software because they benefitted from the existence of free software. As I recall, their original dev platform was a Linux box. :^)

    In short, a simple claim of incompatibility isn't a real claim at all--it's just bullshit in the disguise of a real claim. RMS just used his position of Saint IGNUcius (which is the most offensive thing he's ever done, IMHO) to dictate what is and what is not incompatible.

  • by Chalst (57653) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @01:49PM (#805001) Homepage Journal
    The `special exception' in section 3 is vaguer than that: it covers
    `anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary
    form) with the major components'.

    The point about section 6 is well taken. It means that all of
    sections 1, 3 and 6 are required to support the claim that the GPL and
    QPL are incompatible. My understanding of section one is that it only
    requires that the license accompanies the redistributed source, which
    must be available in total. It does not assert that the license
    applies to that whole redistribution, though perhaps section 6 asserts

    Section 9 is worth a look: it has a `get out clause' if the GPL
    turns out to be flawed: one can always apply higher numbered versions
    of the GPL in place of the current one. If the GPL really were to
    threaten freedom of software, as I think RMS's posturing could well
    make it do, then the FSF is free to authorise a new version of the GPL
    with a workaround. Nice idea, again a legal timebomb.

  • I know.. earlier when I said "who wants to" I didnt mean I wanted something for free, I meant I would rather pay the price of Qt in windows than code the "Free Qt/Windows" port, Ive done just enough Win32 work to know the annoyances it would bring.

    I mean its not Hell-On-Earth as some people would have you believe any windows programming is, but it is fuct when you compare it to some of the libraries out there like Qt/Linux.

  • The term everybody, implies everybody, including authorities.

    What Capt. Beyond is referring to is the way laws work in the US, as decided by the supreme court by many cases that laws must be enforced for everybody fairly. This means, you can't selectively pick and choose law, you must enforce it for all violators (when possible). As soon as you stop enforcing the law, it becomes invalid forever, unless it comes to a formal agreement of goverment to enforce it again.

    The most famous example of it, is that according to the law books, one driving a motor vechicle in Vermont must have a person waving a red flag, out in front of the car, to warn people of a noisey vechicle coming, that could scare farm animals. Of course, the fact that it's not enforced, means that even if a police officer brought you in for violating this law, the courts would overturn the case, as it hasn't been enforced in almost 100 years.

    Another case, is if you see people parking in a no-parking zone everyday (and don't get ticketed), but when you do, you get a ticketed, and can prove that normally people do this without getting ticketed, the courts will dismiss the case.

    The division of powers works well in the United States. You claim they represent maintaining the status quo, I have to disgress. In the US, the goverment's sole purpose is protecting peoples freedoms, therefore ensuring the common good. Laws are designed to protect you from stomping on other peoples freedoms (like for example traffic laws, are designed to protect people from hurting others).
  • Do you know why RMS started the FSF? Because he saw previously free (beer) software go proprietary. A lot of people at MIT worked hard on X-windows many moons ago, had no restrictions on its use, saw commercial UNIX vendors take it, tweak it a bit, and then release it as a closed-source commercial program only and prohibited any copying, modifications, etc...

    Hence, the GPL. As a developer, you can release something as free source, and have reasonable assurance that someone else won't take your hard work, add a few proprietary things to it, release it as closed source, charge big bucks for it, make a fortune, and the user community get squat.

    RMS would rather not have to have the GPL (he says so in his standard guest lecture he gives out on a regular basis). The GPL is a necessary evil.

    As far as QT and Troll Tech goes, because it was not GPL (they initially wanted money if it was used in commercial settings apparently), a lot of people who believe in Free software devoted time and energy to developing Gnone. And now we have a splintered *NIX desktop world.

    If Qt was GPL from the start, if KDE developers chose not to use Qt, then instead of a wasted effort duplicating and re-inventing the wheel, dedicated developers could have been working on a single desktop system.

    People who believe in Free software have put a lot of effort into Gnone so it would still be possible to have a totally free (speech) platform to work on. It's no wonder that Gnone developers don't want to just throw out Gnome just because Trolltech finally decided to make Qt GPL....

    Imagine if Linux was not GPLed. Red Hat could leverage it's current market share and resources, decide that the enhancements it makes to Linux can't be shared with "competitors" and then prohibit installation unless you have a Red Hat license for each computer you install on.

    (Just picking on Red Hat because they are the largest and I needed a hypothetical example. Nothing personal guys! :)

  • Troll tech did write thier own license, remember.

    And what freedom was restricted that the GPL grants?

    Wrong. The QPL does not grant two moderately important rights that the GPL does grant. The QPL does not grant the right to release modified versions integrated into the source files; all non-Troll Tech modifications must be released as patches. While not enough to prevent the software from being free, that's certainly obnoxious.

    The QPL also does not grant you the right to make private modifications and keep them private. Under the QPL, Troll Tech has the right to ask you for copies of any modifications you make and you must provide them. Remember that under the GPL, you are only obligated to give copies of the source to people who received copies of the binaries; giving away both for the price of FTP is common practice but not required. The right to make modifications that way makes it possible to make money selling GPL software, since you can sell the binaries and only give the source to people who pay you for them. With the QPL, you have to turn over your work to Troll Tech even if they aren't willing to pay for your modifications or able to get one of your customers to give the mods to them. Even if you are the only person who uses your modifications and don't release them to anyone else, Troll Tech has a right to demand them, presuming that they find out about them. This last point was, IIRC, the real sticking point of the QPL/GPL incompatibility.

  • If you want QT for windows it's closed source for moolah.

    If you want QT for Unix it's free (as in speech).

    Sooner or later somebody will port the free QT to windows under GPL...

  • I think I'll go license-free with any software I make public.

    Fine. But if you do, you'll need to do it right. You'll need to say something like "I hereby place this code in the public domain." That will work if you have the right to make such a statement: if you work in the US as a programmer, your employer may have a claim to your code.

    If you put out code without any claims at all, then we get the default: it's not legal for anyone to make a copy or a derivative work without explicit permission from you.

  • RMS just thinks that he is entitled to handouts and freebies for eternity without giving anything back to those who support him financially.

    Come again? He hasn't given anything back? That's ridiculous. Linux wouldn't exist today if RMS hadn't helped develop the tools required for Linus to create the kernel in the first place. A Linux kernel would have been a bit useless without a shell, C compiler, not to mention, awk, sed, etc...

    Then again, from reading your post history, I think you have trouble understanding the motivation in the first place. Capitalism is work exchanged for some sort of consideration. Usually it means money, but for some it's the desire to persue a cause, achieve some sort of recognition among peers, or purely for one's own self interest.

    The reason socialist societies fail is because of central planning where one HAS to do a certain task for the good of the people and not to get any consideration in return.

    You might be surprised to learn that I heard RMS in person say that governments that dabble in "central planning" are not good.

    And if, in return for his time he wants to ensure that his code isn't moved from some free to non-free state, that's his perfect right, as well as to try and convince others to follow along.

    And if you don't like the philosphy, you're perfectly free to chose to use 100% non GPLed software or develop it yourself and license it under any terms you want.

  • by Chalst (57653) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @07:18AM (#805019) Homepage Journal
    Not true: no-one (yet) doubts that BSD code can be linked against GPL
    code. The whole incompatibility issue comes up as a claimed
    interaction of two sections of the GPL. The section that is taken to
    be talking about linking code against other code is section 3 (the GPL
    actually does not contain the word `link'), and that only specifies
    that you must make the source available for the whole of the
    executable. It is section 1 that specifies that the GPL must also be
    applied to redistributions of the code. (There's also a vaguely
    worded exception to section 3, which pretty much threatens to
    undermine the credibility of that section.)

    It used to be the case that people believed that the the GPL was
    compatible with any license that permitted free redistribution of the
    source. RMS's claim that the QPL was incompatible with the GPL really
    came from nowhere, and I don't believe it can be correct. It seems to
    me that you should be perfectly able to redistribute the separate
    pieces of source to your executable separately, under the different
    licenses, thus satisfying the conditions of section 3.

    If he is right, then it is likely that the courts would take a dim
    view of the GPL. Courts don't like arbitrary restrictions on the
    private individuals free use of property, unless forced upon them by

    It's high time we got an legal IP specialist to pass his opinion on
    the matter.

  • by nd (20186) <nacase AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:23AM (#805024) Homepage
    Perhaps you're forgetting that RMS wrote the GPL?

    He couldn't quite manage to argue that the QPL was non-free, but he did manage to argue that it was incompatible with the GPL (I doubt this claim would stand up in court)

    See this site [] on this very topic.

    Now he takes the psoition that, even when the QPL is replaced by the GPL, the fact that you ever tried to link against the QPL irrevocably forfeits your rights to release the software under the GPL.

    No, he's saying that they couldn't borrow code from other GPL applications without explicit permission into KDE (which depends on a incompatible license).

    He knows what he's talking about.
  • "Also, you can release proprietary code with GPL code in it, as long as you make available the changes to the GPL's code. "

    I'm sorry, but you are wrong. If you are using GPLed code in a product, then the whole of the code must be released under the GPL if you choose to distribute it. Hence the 'viral' nature of the GPL. You may be thinking of the LGPL (Lesser GPL, previously Library GPL), in which you can link to the LGPL code with proprietary/closed source software, but must make availble the changes you made to the LGPL source code.

    Tom M.
  • I wondered about this, too, when the announcement of QT/Unix going GPL was made. What happens if someone takes that code, and ports it to Windows? For "true" GPL code, that would be perfectly alright, but here it "feels" as if Trolltech don't want it to happen, or something. OK, I confess: I haven't checked out the exact licensing, or anything, but if it says "GPL", then surely it really is GPL, and not "GPL-no-windows-porting-allowed"? Software licensing these days sure is complex...
  • by ovapositor (79434) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:24AM (#805027) Homepage Journal
    I could care less what RMS says on this topic. He does not do my thinking for me. He shouldn't do your thinking for you! Celebrities in general continually irritate me with their uninteresting drivel.
  • THJ commented today on the state of DECSS, which is currently AWOL. "Things are really FUBAR," he said, "We had to go BTDB, and RTFM last night trying to track this UA down."

    This is, of course, in response to the PDB who Hacked the website of HID INC. One of the hackers was KIA, after getting hit with the ISP's SBS, which they purchased from ISS.

    "This is a RM", THJ continued, "Those DF's that did this had no idea of how hard it is to reload RPM's onto that IBM box, and that's exactly what we had to do to FTFM. Fortunately, we found a patch that not only fixes the potential problem, and ups the MTBF."


    THJ Thomas Hartley Jones, A fake person

    DECSS Don't be stupid

    AWOL Absent Without Leave

    FUBAR F****D Up Beyond All Recognition

    BTDB Back To Drawing Board

    RTFM Read The F***ing Manual

    UA Unidentified Assailent

    PDB Poor, Dumb Bastard

    HID INC Home Internet Delivery, Inc.

    KIA Killed In Action

    ISP's Internet Service Provider

    SBS Security Bagging System

    ISS Internet Security Systems

    RM Real Mess

    DF Dumb F***s

    RPM Don't be an idiot

    IBM :)

    FTFM Fix The F***ing Machines

    MTBF Mean Time between Failure



  • This is true. The original poster was wrong in assuming that Borland would be using any GPL'ed code at all. Trolltech duel-licenses their Qt libraries, under both a commercial license and the GPL (previously the QPL). Borland does not have to release Kylix under the GPL because they are not using any GPL'ed software to begin with... They've paid for the commercial version.

    Alternatively, the may have an entirely seperate license from Trolltech that we know nothing about. Regardless, you can be sure that they are not under any obligation to release Kylix under the GPL.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • The attitude you seems to have is exactly the one that makes KDE not a good solution, even though it is free, if the KDE developers have it. But I suppose they have a bit saner attitudes than your.

    Free software is not to be free to provide you with gratis software, but to allow us, that is, the programmers, to hack on what we want. We don't actually care about how much you are to spend on it, just about our ability to put the features we like into it.

    Note, the above paragraph IS ranting. It is trolling. But it is important - the users-only people are not the only people that counts.

    As a Gtk-programmer, I am happy that Qt is GPLed, since that means that we now have two good desktops, and a hell lot of good aps, which can be linked with each other, benefit from each other and minimize recreation of the same code over and over again.

    I whish you all KDE developers good luck and that you will have a fun time using GNOME-program-code in your aps and having code from your apps used by GNOME-hackers!
  • by DJerman (12424) <> on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:44AM (#805031)
    It seems to me that a fundamental flaw of Mr. Stallman's open source philosophy is that it implies that adherance to his particular license is of more importance than the overal quality and value of a product. Most sources agree that KDE is the superior choice of Linux desktop, yet according to open source proponents GNOME is the better choice simply because it is licensed under the GNU Public License.

    It seems to me that your client thinks that I should abide by their license agrement, no? Mr. Stallman believes that certain principles are important, I grant you. He has attempted to embody those principles in his license, also granted. But having done so, others who choose to use the code distributed with that license are bound to abide by it, therefore I believe Mr. Stallman's points about the questionable legality of KDE (in the past) are quite valid.

    Let me tell you, the corporate world would rather use the product that provides less function than the one that will get their computers confiscated :-).

    But I think you have also fallen into the reporter's trap of reviewing others' information rather than forming your own opinion. Not that you wouldn't still decide what you've decided, but your "Most sources" comment leads me to wonder if the more vocal crowd isn't shaping your report. If you were to do a review right now, you might find that Gnome 1.2 and the current version of KDE offer much the same "quality" with respect to stability and usability, and that the reputation for poor quality of Gnome stems from early adopters' problems with code that was released a little before its time (I'm sure your client never does that :-). I'd urge you to take the plunge and try the "open source" software you're reporting on, rather than rely on others' potentially dated work.

    Specifically on Gnome vs KDE:

    I'm a Gnome person, but not a programmer for either camp. I see a more robust design in Gnome for componentized applications and complexity management, but I also recognize that the KDE crew has pulled their product up to a similar level, just as the Gnomers have got their bugs under control. I still prefer Gnome because it seems more designed than hacked, and seems (IMHO) to have the better design philosophy but really, by now the differences between the two efforts have become much smaller than they were a year ago.

    Back to your point:

    The conflict between the ivory tower and the real world is addressed by open source software. Often, however, the ivory tower produces the longer-lasting results. Unix was developed there, and Linux is still held to high standards by its authors (perhaps there's disagreement about how high, but they're there). The difference that open source offers is that if the software doesn't meet the real world needs, you can reshape it. The benefit of the long development cycle adhering to the ivory-tower principles is that you don't have to release service packs as often :-). The corporate world would like to have quality software, but they've shown time and again that something that mostly works today is preferred to something that will work correctly tomorrow. Witness Word vs Wordperfect, Windows NT vs OS/2 (vs a user-friendly unix), etc...

    The success of the open-source movement does not depend on businesses adopting it. It's not "in the market" except in the sense that movement is in the bazzar. Nobody needs to buy it for it to succeed. The success of open-source software depends on people taking pride in their work and in doing it right, and deriving their sense of worth from that. That the products are useful and desirable flows from the success of craftsmanship, not the other way around.

  • ("We hereby grant you forgiveness..") Come on! WHO ARE YOU? GOD?

    The forgiveness is a strictly legal thing. Not a personal forgiveness to you as a persson.
  • KDE has always been GPL. The idea that there could be
    source-to-source conflict between KDE and GPL code sounds to me to
    turn on legal subtleties that I doubt RMS, pace his status as
    co-author of the GPL, is at all qualified to judge.

    What really irritates me is that RMS can never resist the urge to
    make the worst of some legal hairsplitting. If he just sounded a note
    of caution, I would be happy, but he has to talk in terms of KDE
    developers forfeiting their rights to develop the code on which they
    are working.

  • by hey! (33014)
    I'd argue that there's never pressure to open source code -- at least in the normal sense of the phrase. There's only unique business opportunities that open source provides.

    Abandonware is a typical example. This is often spoken of here derogatively, but I think it is a great opportunity for a company to do right by the people who bought its products and to possibly position itself to benefit in the future from an otherwise moribund product.

    The business proposition for Trolltech is much more aggressive. They can ride the rising tide of open source, creating a pool of experienced Qt developers and resources that will be available for closed source development. It encourages young programmers to develop with it. Without the open source community, QT would have no future against MFC on Win32, which with the MS imprimatur steamrollers all closed source Win32 competitors, whether or not they are technically superior.

  • The problem is that those are the exact terms those of the Cult of the Most Holy GNU use when talking about software. If you do not wish to be taken for a cultist, don't talk like one.

    Telling people how they should or shouldn't talk is cult-like behavior. Also, using new, invented terms to either glorify or ridicule something (such as refering to the GPL as the GPV rather than simply as the GPL) is common religious nut practice. I find it vaguely amusing that the only person in this discussion talking like a cultist is the one accusing other people of it.


  • by Rich (9681) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @09:34AM (#805043) Homepage
    There is no code copyrighted by the FSF in KDE. Not a single line. This is just RMS trying to gain himself more publicity (as usual).

    In fact the vast majority of successfull Open Source and Free Software projects have been developed outside of the FSF. For example Perl, Linux, Apache, KDE, X11... Even gcc suffered badly when the FSF was at the helm, and didn't get properly maintained until the egcs fork. XEmacs is much better than GNU Emacs in many ways too. The FSF and RMS are good at talking, but seem unable to run decent software projects.

    The FSF and RMS may once have been a good thing, but for last few years I think they have been mill stones dragging both Open Source and Free Software down.

  • As a professional IT consultant working for one of the Big 5 consultancy firms,...

    Whatever. This stuff really annoys me. This is the geek equivalent of name dropping.

    Look, the majority of the people here are "professional IT consultants." Most of us have worked at fortune 500 companies at one point or another. Stating something like this actually detracts from your arguement. It makes you look like you feel the need to justify your "expertise." It is just bad rhetoric.

    This is a major flaw in the reasoning behind open source. When Linux led the start of this movement I doubt Linus Torvalds say the day when people would deliberately choose inferior software to please a man whose ivory tower ideals conflict with real-world realism. Let me tell you, the corporate world would rather have the quality product rather than the alternatives, even if they don't use the GPL. And since the continued success of Linux relies on it gaining corporate mindshare, maybe it's time for a little more productivity and a little less childishness.

    You really should do some research before you put your foot in your mouth. Open source software is generally rated as higher quality by it's users... No, I'm not talking Linux zealots... I'm talking companies like Yahoo who uses FreeBSD, or Google who uses Linux or any on of the 60%+ companies running apache.

    Your comments belie your ignorance and bias.
  • We already rely on non-free software for too much. Ever heard of netscape? The only free alternatives at this time are Mozilla, which is appropriately named for its monstrous size (32MB of memory won't handle it so I'm stuck with netscape sans java), and gzilla/armadillo [], which is an early alpha lynx with pictures and crashes (for now). Lynx doesn't count since it can't do tables (I don't care about pictures and frames, but I have to have my tables)

    I still agree we should avoid further intrusions of important non-free software into our pure hard disks (by important I don't mean simple stuff like xsnow), and Netscape is one example of what happens; people don't even think about this anymore. Someone port Kmeleon [] to Linux please!

  • From the GPL:

    4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify,
    sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights,
    from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.

    IANAL, but this does make it plausible that the persons rights are revoked without the option of just "re-licensing it".

    Besides, the KDE people obviously snubbed the FSF et al by using qt. They moved things out of the level of respecting each other as equals. The fact that RMS gave a blanket permission to relicense the code is a good thing not a bad one. A lot of people, myself included, might have taken a lot longer to do that.

    What the KDE people did is to many not easily excusable. They're obviously not a part of the free software movement, and to sort of usher them in and pretend that they are because QT is now GPL'd is rather magnanimous. About the only favor that the KDE people did the free software movement was to provide the impetous for gnome. Now that that's done, the best thing would be for KDE to bsd their code and go off as part of BSD, or maybe sell out to a corporation and turn commercial.

    Sure they're stuff is slick. So are plenty of things. They're not very relevant by their own choices. They're not friendly by their own choices. If it were up to me I'd just ignore them and enforce the forfeiture of rights clause.

    There are those of us who would prefer to see justice done in this case rather than mercy. You're rather arrogant to complain about the terms of the mercy granted. If someone less kind than RMS were in charge it would be straight justice.
  • by mirko (198274) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:52AM (#805054) Journal
    GNOME and KDE will remain two rival desktops, unless some day they can be merged in some way
    Hmmmmm.... Does this mean we might encounter the same problems as with glibc and libstc ?
    I'd have prefered if RMS had not evoked some merge but rather an increased freedom of choice.
    I can therefore understand that RMS doesn't plan to throw out the Gnome Project once KDE has become Free.
    This would also be a pity so please, let them co-exist instead of yugoslavi-ing them into a unique internally conflicting entity.

  • by shaka (13165) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:52AM (#805055)
    A lot of you /.-ers are gonna start bashing RMS now, for him being so anal about things like this.
    I think that's pretty naïve.
    RMS always backs his arguments with thoroughly gone trough scenarios of how app
    arently small things might cause big effects in the future, like using a partly
    non-free system or calling GNU/Linux "Linux".
    It's easy to bash him for that, but he might actually be right and I think you
    can't be too catious.
  • by EricWright (16803) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:53AM (#805057) Journal
    Who is this root-mean-square guy and why should I care ;o}

    So, am I supposed to be jumping up and down with joy now that RMS says it's ok to like/use KDE? I've been using KDE since version 1.0. I could care less what the license was. I imagine many people who merely use the software care don't care either. These licenses only dictate what you can do to the code. Big deal. I've never even LOOKED at the KDE code... I have more important things to do than GUI programming.

  • I have both KDE and Gnome on my system. I probably will continue to do so until a) Gnome is more stable and b) there are more Gnome apps. The license issue was important to me, and the argument that the end user doesn't care about licenses never made much sense to me -- that's precisely why the average end-user is trapped into using proprietary software with unconscionable licenses that are only becoming more so as software vendors push unconscionable legislation like UCITA.

    I'm glad Qt is GPLed now, and I wish them the best. One of the strongest points of the Linux graphical environment is choice. I guess that strikes some people as inconvenient, but I refuse to surrender my choices in the name of anyone's convenience, even my own. That being said, I prefer Gnome.

    Why? The API is written in C. I'm a C programmer. I can and do program in C++ at the office, but on my own time, I use the language I prefer. If someone wants to write a C wrapper for the C++ Qt API, I might consider KDE again. Less because of any inherent advantage in KDE than because it would really gall the C++ crowd. ;-)


  • > There is no code copyrighted by the FSF in KDE.
    > Not a single line.

    Maybe, but the legal "forgiveness" includes all applications that links FSF owned code with Qt. Are you saying there exists no such applications?

  • by Effugas (2378) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @07:33AM (#805061) Homepage
    I've generally liked RMS for most of what he's said and much of what he believes in.

    However, this permanent forfeiture nonsense is so nauseatingly offensive, it truly stretches my ability to suspend disbelief to imagine that it came from the (often poison) pen of Richard M. Stallman.

    Yes, it is true that violating the GPL reverts your rights upon the code back to what you had before you accepted the terms of the copyright, i.e. basic copyright.

    And, yes, this of course means that your rights revert back to the situation where you may once again relicense the code under the GPL, unless the FSF put a "Scarlet Letter" clause into the GPL. Not to mention, the fact that you can do whatever you like in the privacy of your own system--including linking GPL code to completely unfree and unreleased libraries--pretty much insulates every end user who didn't release a distribution. That all does happen to make RMS's "beg for forgiveness" exhortations rather...extreme.

    But, what the hell is RIAA-style power mongering doing coming from one of the leaders of free software? Don't get me wrong--unlike those that complain about the GPL, I'm fully aware that the control-or-be-controlled hard line that FSF takes with its licenses is fully valid, and that the strength and correctness of the GPL can only exist with its refusal to suborn itself to less rigorous licenses.

    But this tripe about forgiveness, as if users of KDE were under some moral obligation to bow down, tail between their legs, and beg for absolution from their great Free Software Masters fills me with absolute disgust. Even if Stallman had the legal right to call for such behavior--which, mind you, he doesn't--that he'd even ask for it smacks of the arrogance we all detest so much in the post-sale content control industry.

    Ugh. I'm sorry for the flamage. Shocked and dismayed doesn't even begin to cover it.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • It's hard not to bash the guy who "bashed" us:

    Quoted from bash-2.04/doc/

    This is Edition 2.4, last updated 14 March 2000, of `The GNU Bash Reference Manual', for `Bash', Version 2.04.

    Copyright (C) 1991-1999 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

    So, before you start shelling out bad arguments, please remember that it's Posix 1003.2-compliant code that you're bashing.

  • I always thought it kinda childish to insist that much about calling Linux "GNU\Linux".
    We all know it's GNU\Linux just as we all know it's MS Windows, but when I just say Windows nobody thinks I'm talking about anything else but MS Windows so why should it be different about Linux? Of course the "official" name mght be GNU\Linux and I am fine with that... but can't we just leave that implicit in our conversations?
  • by dizee (143832) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:56AM (#805081) Homepage
    "This is an outrage! It should be called GNU/Qt!"

    "I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer."
  • by shaka (13165) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:56AM (#805084)
    A statement like go get 'em, gnomes! is competition, so you should be happy.
    You can argue about his "position in the world of free software", but he probably just feels for GNOME, cause that's more "his" project than KDE.
  • But GNOME is here, and is not going to disappear. GNOME and KDE will remain two rival desktops, unless some day they can be merged in some way.
    Although I respect RMS a lot, I don't understand how he could say this with a straight face. I thought that one of the many points of free software is choice. There is no reason that KDE and Gnome need to either be rivals or be merged. Now that the biggest point of contention is finally being solved, there should be more cooperation between the two groups and, hopefully, less flamage among everyone else. I doubt the maintainers of, say, Pine and Mutt see themselves as rivals. They are just merrily going about their business and scratching their own itch.
  • > In addition he talks about KDE specifically and
    > says nothing about other Qt apps so your point
    > is moot.

    You really should read the article before commenting. The stated "forgiveness" explicitly covers al linking with Qt, KDE isn't mentioned in that part.

  • This is a very good point. This is part of the reason I use Adobe's acroread instead of xpdf most of the time. acroread is just better. I try to avoid getting PDF files if I can, but sometimes I can't. I make an affort to support free software most of the time, but calling non-free software "evil" is basically wrong and just as short-sighted as commercial places saying all free software is "anti-capitalist".

    As much as I like the idea of free software and have no problem abiding by the GPL, by no means should this be the only option.

  • by ragnar (3268) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:59AM (#805094) Homepage
    I've had this idea in my head for a while, and after reading the RMS article and the slashdot discussion I think I'll go license-free with any software I make public. I think a lassaiz-faire approach where the author makes no claims whatsoever seems a better route to go. I can deal with being criticized for a programming choice or any manner of technical issue with software, but I would hate to mediate arguments over a software license.
  • As I mentioned its not that you cant release a GPL'd program in Qt under windows its that the library is not free in Windows meaning you have to pay to compile your Qt app under windows yet the *nix versions of it are free.

    They can get away with this because the interface is the same but all the interfacing with Win32/X11 is going to be totally different and is the thing Qt abstracts you from. You dont ever have to see X11 or Win32 window drawing internals.

    but only the Unix version is free see here

    Trolltech announced today that it will license the upcoming free version of Qt/Unix 2.2 under the GPL (GNU General Public License). Developers will have the option of using the open-source version of Qt 2.2 under either the QPL (Q Public License) or GPL license, depending on their licensing requirements
    From there site

    Basically they refer to the version most people use as the "Qt Free Edition", which also reads as "Qt/Unix 2.2"

    Just means you still have to pay for Qt under windows.. sure your programs GPL'd but you got no lib's to compile it in windows unless you paid.

  • Most of the flames (at least the ones worth reading) against rms are from people who believe that rms is -wrong- about something, and they (including me ;)) have as much right to say what they believe as rms does.

    That said, I think rms is full of it in this latest post -- I don't believe that the copyright statutes (and I have read them) give anything remotely -like- the power to revoke 'forever' the rights given by a statement of copyright, no matter how convoluted that statement (ie, the GPL) may be. Even if it did, nowhere in the GPL does it say anything like, 'If you violate the GPL you lose your rights under the GPL forever'.

    bash$ grep -i "in perpetuity" GPL
    bash$ grep -i "forever" GPL
    bash$ grep -i "ever again" GPL

    It -does- say your rights under the license are 'terminated' if you break the license, but it seems to me that since the license is offered when receiving GPLed software, that a person can 're-accept' the license by receiving a new copy of the software and then -not- breaking the license. (ie, with freely available free software... they can download the 'Program' that their 'Work based on the Program' is derived from and then be good.)

    rms has the right to believe what he wants, and say what he wants, but rms' rights to say and believe what he wants do not terminate my right to say and believe what I want - and I believe that rms is zealous beyond reason about everything involved in 'Free Software.' His -claim- that the GPL does this or does that is no more meaningful than anybody else's claim if he doesn't back it up with citations of particular clauses.

    Anyway. I -do- appreciate rms ... I am deeply grateful for GCC, glibc, emacs, and other software, much written by rms directly, or with other members of the gnu project ... however, personally, I'd be just as happy to have them under a BSD style license, and I do not appreciate rms for his zealotry.

  • RMS has been in the free software business longer than almost anyone. Without him there would be no Linux. Unfortunately some of the things he says and does only rub everyone else the wrong way and cause him to lose credibility.

    The man is paranoid, but not without reason. He's been around long enough to remember AT&T's clampdown on unix and the fragmentation of unix which came after. In fact these were the reasons the FSF was founded and the GNU project started. He doesn't want to see the free software community and its code become the hostages of corporate greed the way Unix was.

    He is a zealot, an extremist. He jumps at the shadows of shadows and cries that the sky is falling. But the truth is, he may be right. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. While I usually don't agree with the attitude behind what he says, I do recognize that ultimately he is simply looking out for the best interests of the community. By taking the hard line view, he compensates for all the rest of us who see licensing issues as an excuse to moan and complain (a view Stallman unfortunately promotes through words and deeds) instead of the critical issue that they are. Stallman's consistent defense of free software against all possible corruption is similar to the ACLU's defense of the first amendment. In both cases their extremism is puzzling, until you understand the historical reasons for it. In the case of free software, it is to prevent another unix debacle. In the case of the first amendment, it is to hold fast and true the rights of us all.

    So don't be too hard on Stallman. He is annoying, and often full of himself. But without him where would we be?

  • by kmem (228603) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:58AM (#805106) Homepage
    Disclaimer: I am a GNOME user.

    That being said: It seems that the KDE developers, no matter what they do, no matter what good intentions they hold, always gets bashed by the GNU/GNOME/RMS camp.

    If it isn't legal nitpicking then it is outright insults. If it isn't outright insults then it is implict insults ("We hereby grant you forgiveness..") Come on! WHO ARE YOU? GOD?

    Sure KDE is a little cartoony looking but it runs well and is stable. Perhaps SOMEBODIES are jealous?

    I really doubt I'll get burned for linking to something with a QPL License. I also really doubt I'll make it to the end of the day without my GNOME desktop crashing again.
  • by sheldon (2322) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @10:43AM (#805108)
    The first part of your article rather ignores the fact that the development of X at MIT was funded by commercial entities such as DEC, etc.

    This happens with a lot of work done at Universities. The corporate companies give them a bunch of money to do some research, and in return they benefit by utilizing the research in their commercial products.

    RMS just thinks that he is entitled to handouts and freebies for eternity without giving anything back to those who support him financially.

    Having worked in a University environment for 4 years, I understand the issues of funding, research and distributing the results. It's a complicated issue, but unfortunately RMS's attitude is pretty much that of the Ivory Tower academic.

    The GPL is most certainly *NOT* a necessary evil. It was spawned by jealousy and bitterness.
  • by Chalst (57653) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @04:59AM (#805112) Homepage Journal
    You've got to take your hat off to RMS. He manages to turn any good
    news into bad news. He couldn't quite manage to argue that the QPL
    was non-free, but he did manage to argue that it was incompatible with
    the GPL (I doubt this claim would stand up in court), and managed to
    convince the world that this threatened the end of free software. Now
    he takes the psoition that, even when the QPL is replaced by the GPL,
    the fact that you ever tried to link against the QPL irrevocably
    forfeits your rights to release the software under the GPL.

    I hope no-one buys this garbage. It certainly would make a
    nonsense of the idea that the GPL respects the freedoms of its users
    and developers.

  • by slim (1652) <john&hartnup,net> on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:00AM (#805114) Homepage
    "These licenses only dictate what you can do to the code. Big deal. I've never even LOOKED at the KDE code...

    These licences not only dictate what you can do to the code - they also dictate what other people can do to the code. This affects you directly. Whereas before the licenses forbade anyone porting a GPLd program such as (say) The GIMP to KDE, now it is legal.

    As a parallel, I seldom look at the Linux kernel code, and I've never submitted a patch -- but the fact that others can and do results in a better engineered, better supported product.

    This is pretty balanced stuff from RMS. He acknowledges that the KDE developers have their own set of beliefs, and that software freedom was not the big issue to them as it is to him. The man has principles, and this time, for once, he has chosen merely to state them, rather than to preach. (When he preaches, he preaches damn well...)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @05:01AM (#805116)

    As a professional IT consultant working for one of the Big 5 consultancy firms, I've been working recently on an indepth report on the weaknesses of "open source" software for one of our clients, a company that is mentioned here on occasion.

    It seems to me that a fundamental flaw of Mr. Stallman's open source philosophy is that it implies that adherance to his particular license is of more importance than the overal quality and value of a product. Most sources agree that KDE is the superior choice of Linux desktop, yet according to open source proponents GNOME is the better choice simply because it is licensed under the GNU Public License.

    This is a major flaw in the reasoning behind open source. When Linux led the start of this movement I doubt Linus Torvalds say the day when people would deliberately choose inferior software to please a man whose ivory tower ideals conflict with real-world realism.

    Let me tell you, the corporate world would rather have the quality product rather than the alternatives, even if they don't use the GPL. And since the continued success of Linux relies on it gaining corporate mindshare, maybe it's time for a little more productivity and a little less childishness.

After Goliath's defeat, giants ceased to command respect. - Freeman Dyson