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Defending the GPL
Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 07:26 AM EDT

I heartily recommend that you read Eric Laffoon's article in Open for Business. If it were allowed, I'd put every word of it here on Groklaw. Laffoon is the project lead for KDE's Kdewebdev module. It's the best answer I've seen to anyone who claims we need to ditch the GPL to ensure business uptake or that we don't need the GPL any more.

"Is commercial software the salvation of Linux?" he asks. I'll answer that. Linux doesn't need business. It has an independent life and will take over no matter what. It's businesses that need Linux, not the other way around. Here are just two paragraphs from the article:

To me FOSS as Richard Stallman has set in motion with the GNU GPL is about the greater good of humanity as opposed to the selfish greed of a few people. The GPL has insured the freedom of users while showing that the closed development model has real flaws. Let's not lose site of what's important. Our community provides the moral center at probably the most pivitol point in history. 500 years ago the printing press ended the dark ages with an unprecedented sharing of ideas. The internet offers dramatically more potential. Thankfully Microsoft was late to the party and FOSS was there to prevent them getting dominant control of the new international currency, information access. The battle for the freedom of access for us and our children is not over. We need to cooperate to insure the enemies of freedom don't overcome us, not attack those who should be our allies. Wars have been lost over just such foolishness.

I have a problem with attempts to depreciate the value of the GPL or arguments that there is a problem with Qt because businesses cannot write closed source software with it for free. Is commercial closed source software essential for Linux success? Is that what we're about now? What are the concerns for businesses developing closed source software on Linux? Where do we come down on the GPL? Before we answer those questions, how has GNU/Linux achieved the success it has and what do we want from it's success? Making it possible to run proprietary software on Linux is different from making proprietary software the cornerstone of our future. Trying to take the GPL out of the heart of FOSS is like trying to hijack the internet, except it's those we thought were our friends, not our enemies who want to do this.

He also explains why we absolutely do not want to pick just one desktop. I hope you take the time to read what he took the time to write. It's worth it.


  


Defending the GPL | 345 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: SilverWave on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 07:40 AM EDT
Corrections here :)

---
"They [each] put in one hour of work,
but because they share the end results
they get nine hours... for free"

Firstmonday 98 interview with Linus Torvalds

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT here please
Authored by: SilverWave on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 07:42 AM EDT
OT here please
Links would be nice ;)

---
"They [each] put in one hour of work,
but because they share the end results
they get nine hours... for free"

Firstmonday 98 interview with Linus Torvalds

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corporate Welfare
Authored by: SilverWave on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 07:44 AM EDT
Best bit for me:


"The idea that a company giving this much to the FOSS community should be
punished for not providing corporate welfare so companies can sell us back open
source software in proprietary packages is incomprehensibly wrong to me"

---
"They [each] put in one hour of work,
but because they share the end results
they get nine hours... for free"

Firstmonday 98 interview with Linus Torvalds

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 07:50 AM EDT
I am always amused when I see critisim of QT based on the fact that the GPL is
too restrictive.

after all QT was origionally bashed becouse it wasn't open enough, and so they
released it under the GPL and now people are complaining becouse of that (in
many cases it's the same people)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL
Authored by: KW on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 08:02 AM EDT
"I have a problem with attempts to depreciate the value of the GPL or arguments that there is a problem with Qt because businesses cannot write closed source software with it for free." GPL says: Businesses can write closed source software with it for_a_fee_. No problem with Qt.

---
I am FREE!
I can do anything my wife allows me to do.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL
Authored by: digger53 on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 08:45 AM EDT
Great essay. The promise of the "Information Age" that many were
blathering about not so long ago, seems to be in danger of withering under a
crushing load of ... stuff. Stuff like patented software (algorithms), patented
business and investment "strategies," drm, etc. promoted by MS &
others of its ilk. The GPL and free software stand between the enemies of the
free flow of information and their goal of total control.

---
When all else fails, follow directions.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL
Authored by: Latesigner on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 08:56 AM EDT
I remember an SJV-N piece about how awful it was that LINUX had competing
desktops : http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1824810,00.asp

"For starters, that means getting all their efforts behind one desktop.
They can't afford to waste time and energy working on both KDE and GNOME. Pick
one, and get on with it (my choice: KDE). Stop the whining over which is better.
Here's the simple truth, troops: Mac OS X is better, a lot better, than either
one. Either the Linux desktop gets its act together in the coming year, or it
will never become more than a niche operating system."

I hope he reads this and reconsiders.
I never understood the arguments about how awful choice was, how confusing to
the user and how it was going to harm LINUX adoption.
While I'm at it I've also wondered about the consistent contempt for users that
so often seems to underlie that position.

---
The only way to have an "ownership" society is to make slaves of the rest of us.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Moral Center? Me?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 09:08 AM EDT
Gee, I didn't know that.

[ Reply to This | # ]

There are those in the Government who fear FOSS change, because of Proprietary Tax Revenue?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 09:34 AM EDT
Some in the halls of congress and even the executive branch see the proprietary
"greed is good" model as to their liking because they see how they can
tax this.

They have not yet seen that freedom in software, means that more people are free
to put this software to work and this means greater benefits to the users
(businesses), and this all means that they can do more (vs being restricted to
proprietary software tools)... When a business can do more it can make more
money (taxable by the government).

Proprietary software restricts economic growth (due to limited features and
overcharging of monies for bad software for business, who could put such wasted
money to much better uses, for employee heath care, better employee wages,
product promotion, growth, etc)!

FOSS is a tax break from the past proprietary software high taxes that we have
been forced into paying in the past! This tax break is one that has the same
affect as the income tax breaks that stir economic growth, the FOSS tas break
comes back later and becuase it aids in economic growth, the FOSS tax break and
the freedoms it provides... improves the future government's tax income...!
This is a fact!

Some in congress and the executive branch don't quite see this FOSS freedom tax
break from the right angle yet.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I hate articles like this
Authored by: Turin on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 10:29 AM EDT
It's an actual dev defending against corporate shills who represent corporations
who rightly perceive that the GPL was designed as a stake right through their
collective hearts.

Software licensing by commercial entities is about their bottom line, basically.
What they allow and disallow is for the benefit of the functioning of their
business.

Software licensing for OSS is about the developers: what license they are
willing to work under. I will only work under a GPL license because I don't
want my work given away to someone who is going to rip off the consumer by
charging them for something I did for free. I have never contributed to a
non-GPL project and never will.

This is the point that is missed here: who cares what the corporations think: if
the devs don't work, then the software doesn't get written.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Free Software and Open Source
Authored by: artp on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 11:05 AM EDT
Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond

Personal liberty and financial opportunity

One saw a need to fill and went for it. The other saw a successful movement and
decided it should be done differently.

One has an original idea, the other ....

As Dorothy Parker said, "If you can't say anything nice about anybody, come
over here and sit by me."

Stallman started out from scratch to make an alternative to proprietary
software, He has not wavered in the 25 years that I have been acquainted with
his mission.

Open Source is also a reasonable idea, but I wish that they had also started out
from scratch, instead of trying to influence the direction of an existing
movement. It would be more honorable, and create less chaos.

OSI has a reasonable idea, but I never would have jumped on it in 1982 like I
did on Stallman's Free Software. There is some real power behind Richard's idea
that just doesn't translate to OSI. You'll never see me use the terms FOSS or
FLOSS. I'm not interested in it.

Stallman has never gone out and told other people that they had to use the GPL,
unless they are trying to piggyback without paying the price. But the choice to
use the GPL is individual, for developers and end-users, and, I suppose,
corporations, too.

I know what Richard Stallman has done in software. I keep having to look up what
Eric Raymond has done. He has done some good things, but to me, he is an
opportunist who is trying to set the direction for a movement that he did not
start. He may have a point, but he has no right to detract from the Free
Software Foundation's mission.

It comes down to who gets to control. It should be an individual choice, not a
popularity contest with books and speeches and pep rallies. We used to vote with
our pocketbook, now we vote with our time. We're not voting on what other people
should do.

The travesty is that Open Source didn't have the integrity to set some distance
between themselves and Free Software. Then it would be clear what they were
trying to do, instead of pretending that they were really part of it all.

During the peace protests of the 60s and 70s, the government sent out agents to
stop the protests. They didn't try to destroy the protests or their
organization, but they went after the leadership and the movement's unity. There
were government agents organizing peace protests. They would introduce conflict
into the leadership, and help tear it apart form the inside. When this
revelation came out several years ago, I tried to remember if any of the
leadership that I came into contact with would fit that mold. It's hard to
determine even in the present, let alone 30 years after the fact. Is Raymond
fueled by sincere interest, misguided ego, or mercenary greed? Only he can tell
us that. I can only wonder.

The lack of choice issue would be better focused on the license instead of the
applications. This is only a phase of Free Software that we're going through.
Eventually, there will be Free Software alternatives for everything. Now, I have
to use OSI licenses for some things. Then, I can be truly free.

Not only Free Software, but Free Software alternatives. I don't see anywhere
that FSF wants to eliminate proprietary software, but that it wants alternatives
to it. That's a huge difference from the OSI position, which wishes to blend
the two.

One more dichotomy:

Water and oil.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Trolltech license issues
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 12:04 PM EDT
This is actually a reply to this comment but I am putting it in the main thread because it highlights an important mis-conception.

From the comment:

"If we ever need a closed source program we can simply get a QT license and can still re-use parts of the open sourced code we wrote (not that I could forsee it).

I will never understand why people complain that they have to pay for a QT license if they want to write proprietary code! Using their arguments one could say that pirating or decompiling their proprietary software should be equally allowed......"

I think the GPL is great. There are a lot of companies which dual-license GPL and proprietary, which I also think is great.

But before you go using QT in any project which you might wish to sell or dual-license as non-open-source, you should study Trolltech's policies carefully. If you developed code using QT's GPL product, their commercial product license forbids you from ever taking your own code and delivering it under a non-free license (because you cannot link their commercial version with that code and you cannot deliver non-free code with their GPL version).

They also have a stricter interpretation of the GPL as related to internal company projects than even Richard Stallman -- Stallman views that a company might be a single "entity", but Trolltech says that you need a commercial license if your corporate policies would prevent employees from taking internal company information and reusing it outside of the company.

It's obvious that Trolltech's position is designed to encourage more people to take the commercial license, just in case they might need it. That's all well and good, but I would personally be leery of using this, if for no other reason than I cannot locate a copy of their commercial license anywhere on the web. YMMV

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL
Authored by: dnl on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 12:16 PM EDT
To me FOSS as Richard Stallman has set in motion with the GNU GPL is about the greater good of humanity as opposed to the selfish greed of a few people.

...the selfish greed of a few people. Fortunately, there are people promoting the GPL that don't engage in such useless group think...

[ Reply to This | # ]

ESR: "We Don't Need the GPL Anymore"
Authored by: SilverWave on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 01:34 PM EDT

ESR: "We Don't Need the GPL Anymore"

Link http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/06/30/esr_interview.html

Just read through his interview :/

Is it April 1st?


ESR does not normally come across as naive but this interview is weird.

The GPL is the foundation of Free software attacking it is... odd.

---
"They [each] put in one hour of work,
but because they share the end results
they get nine hours... for free"

Firstmonday 98 interview with Linus Torvalds

[ Reply to This | # ]

Must pay to create LINUX apps
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 02:04 PM EDT
That is the main problem with the QT deal. Just to write proprietary apps for
Linux you have to pay a license fee. Thats why no one wants to develop
applications. It simply does not make sense for proprietary companies tring to
make money!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL
Authored by: MattZN on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 05:04 PM EDT

What a load of junk. I'm sorry, but it is. It's a viewpoint that assumes open-source cannot survive without some sort of restrictive license that forces all users of the software to a particular viewpoint and type of use. How clearly absurd. Linux hasn't grown because of the GPL, it has grown because it has captured the imagination. Good programs may be placed under the GPL, but do not be confused... good programs are written by good programmers. The license is completely irrelevant.

I've been writing open source software since the mid 1980's. I've written a ton of software, first for the Amiga, then for BSD's and Linux. There is a reason why I have almost universally used the BSD license in that entire period. It's because I want to have the freedom to use that code, some from BSD'd projects with hundreds of contributors, for any purpose I desire at any time in the future. I have used little bits and pieces from all my projects and all the projects I've been involved with, under the BSD license, to enrich my life, the lives of my coworkers, friends, and the world in general, in both proprietary and non-proprietary works. Half of those uses would not have been possible had the software been GPL'd, simply because once a project becomes large enough it becomes impossible to obtain the permission for 100% of the developers, or too time consuming to track down which piece of code was contributed to by who, short of forcing everyone to assign their copyright (e.g. such as the GCC and other projects do), even with CVS (because CVS is often incomplete when it comes to attribution of original authors for code that has gone through years of development).

The GPL is a complete rejection of the ability of the open-source movement to grow and be used to good effect in the world around us. The GPL says, basically, that because some of the software might be 'misused' in the eyes of the author, it would invalidate the positive effect the software has on the world at large and thus the license must severely restrict the use to a particular mindset rather then giving the society the benefit of the doubt. It assumes, for example, that a piece of open source software can be proprietized and thus somehow 'stolen' by virtue of further development being 'hidden', and that this somehow magically poisons the atmosphere. It is a paranoid rendering of our society, one that I reject utterly and completely. Frankly, in my view, if some company wants to take a piece of my BSD'd code and try to make money from it through some sort of proprietization of the code, they are welcome to try, and more power to them if they can pay their employee's salaries with some of my code.

I am all about empowering people, and I place no restrictions on that empowerment. I don't really care if some of the code is 'misused', because what little misuse there is frankly does not effect my life or my projects or all the positive effects my code has had on other people's lives.

I have no interest in trying to force our society into a particular mold, but the GPL obviously has a very great interest in doing just that. And that is why I don't use the GPL.

-Matthew Dillon (Amiga, BSD, DragonFly, etc)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 06:13 PM EDT
The GPL needs no defense. It's the proprietary license that's hard to justify.

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL as Currency
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 07:18 PM EDT
I think the reason why the GPL is hated by a few, is that it is a form of
currency that no-one controls.

An author can be paid in many ways. Money is good. There is or was a barter
economy that was flurishing at one point a few years ago. An author could get
paid using barter.

Or an author could select the GPL. He contributes an idea, some code and in
return it lets it sail out into the world, but tells people that you can use it
and distribute it, but if you do you have to let me and others have the result.
What is more democratic than that? It is the authors choice. If someone doesn't
like it, what to do? They can use governmental force, they can lie, they can
write the code without refernence to the original. The only thing they can't do
is steal it. How different than that is if you were to call the code
proprietary and sell it for money/ If someone took it and used it without
permission, you would call it stealing. Same thing with the GPL.

May I suggest the people who don't like the GPL are really communists at heart.
They want to steal the product of another's imagination. Why shouldn't we be
able to use it they bleat. The answer is simple, you can use it, you just can't
steal it and you have to pay for it in the currency the author demands--more
code.

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL defends itself perfectly fine...
Authored by: Bas Burger on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 07:46 PM EDT
The GPL was not defined to pester corporations, the GPL is there for 2 reasons.
The first is that RMS and other people were feeling the results of the extended
copyright laws that basicly stated that nothing made after a certain date will
ever fall into the public domain. Secondly, during the 70's corporations started
to forbid scientists to tinker with the software that came with machines like
photocopiers and other nice equipment. Often using copyright law to make
contracts with endusers, basicly stripping the rights of one that paid. We all
know where this all ended, yes with the dreadfull EULA's of today. This first
reason is already enough to setup a sorta controlled public domain, of which the
controller is basicly a perpetuum mobile
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_perpetual_motion_machines) that makes
that knowledge leaking out generates other knowledge that pours in again. The
second reason is that copyright laws were started to get used as legal weapon
instead of protection of the original author, so basicly the spirit of that law
died a horible death.

These are the reasons that GPL came into existence. Few people seem to realize
that the pool of the public domain is drying out, nothing flows in and that what
is in has been (mis)used so many times that most people are bored with it.

I didn't read directly what Eric Raymond had written about this, but if this is
true he should know better, he just don't get it, he came close though with his
past essays.
I think one of the reasons why a lot of corporations can't deal with the GPL is
the economic model that it benefits most, that is anarcho-capitalism
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho_capitalism), this is not the economic
model they persue as there is too little control to gain. What surprices me most
is that a corporation like IBM do seem to understand the spirit of GPL, what
makes them so special? Are they just pretending they understand? I can't find
it.

Bas.

---
DIRECTUS ELATUS PERTINAX

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux success is NOT a foregone conclusion
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 10:48 PM EDT
PJ wrote "[Linux] has an independent life and will take over no matter what."

Linux may have an independent life, but like anything else, it will not take over unless it is and continues to be the most feasable solution available. More correctly, it must be and continue to be correctly perceived as the most feasable solution available.

If it fails to do that, either because something better comes along or the FUD warriors falsely convince industry that a better, cheaper solution exists, it will not take over.

Microsoft "won" on the PC front for a time because it was the most feasable solution - first because "Nobody got fired for buying IBM" in the '80s and IBM came with DOS, and later in the '90s MS-Windows beat the Mac in large part because it was cheaper and in large part because it had more application support. It eroded and gradually beat Novell's server leadership largely because of mistakes by Novell and by a great marketing effort out of Redmond.

For Linux to succeed against Microsoft, it must be at least as good, at least as cheap overall, and it must be seen as such. This is why fighting FUD is so important. It is also why being free as in beer is so important. As for being open-source, most businesses don't care, but they DO care that being open-source - either public domain, BSDish, GPLish, or otherwise, means if there is a feature they need they aren't dependent on their vendor, AND if it's a feature many users will need someone will write it. This, among other things, makes software "best of breed," which is something businesses care very much about.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • You are assuming - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 05:36 AM EDT
Defending the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 12:19 AM EDT
One word "Glade".

vegast

[ Reply to This | # ]

Defending the GPL
Authored by: rm6990 on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 01:35 AM EDT
ESR's basic arguement is that people who create forked, proprietary versions of
OSS will have more work to do and not be able to keep up with the OSS community,
with or without the GPL.

However, if a company forks a project on 08/05, and then on 09/05 a great new
feature is added to the OSS version, during 10/05, the company can incorporate
that new code into their product. How will they fall behind?

Now, some of the reasons I've seen is that the company has to keep up with ABI
changes and such. However, the community also has to keep up with the new
features...and while the community is implementing them, the company can already
have even more improved features and have fixed any ABI problems, etc. I hardly
see how the company will have trouble keeping up, since they have access to the
community's work, but not vice versa. Every time the community writes some code
to replicate the new, proprietary feature, the company can then take that code,
if it is better, to improve their proprietary version, while also still
improving their version just as fast as the community, with their help
indirectly.

The GPL is designed to prevent this from happening. Is ESR blind and just does
not see this? Or am I missing something?

[ Reply to This | # ]

All you nay-sayers
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 05:54 AM EDT
All you nay-sayers, and Eric Raymond in particular, forget one significant fact.
GPL was created to appeal to developers, not to 'business'

Businesses have only two reactions to GPL : How can we kill it? How can we
steal from it? Developers have noticed.

No GPL, no developers. No developers, no Free Software.

Eric Raymond has gone over to the Darkness. Let us grieve for him.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • All you nay-sayers - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 06:54 AM EDT
    • dual licensed - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 11:24 AM EDT
      • dual licensed - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 03:57 PM EDT
        • dual licensed - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 10 2005 @ 05:12 AM EDT
    • So, are you saying... - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 12:45 AM EDT
  • You agree, then? - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 09 2005 @ 12:54 AM EDT
Defending the GPL
Authored by: tredman on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 07:30 AM EDT
Why does everything have to be so black and white, when we live in a world with
abundant, rich color? There will always be software problems that F/OSS is
going to tackle better than proprietary software. There will also be the
reverse.

In my opinion, those that hammer hard the idea of F/OSS as king are no better
off than the corporate greed that drives many commercial products. This
article, to me, is no exception. I'll be the first to admit that Richard
Stallman is a smart cookie, but I'm tired of all of the god-worship that goes on
with this man sometimes. He's an highly principled engineer that codified a
paradigm for creating and using software. He's not the second coming.

It may be the fact that I just woke up, but the extremism has got to stop. His
argument about having choice in desktop selection is more accurate and
insightful than anything else in the op-ed. Everybody has to accept that there
are certain tools optimal for certain jobs. Even Linus, one of those so-called
illuminati of open-source software, will tell you the same thing, and he's taken
some real flak in the past because of it.

Time to wake up and drink that first cup of coffee before this devolves into a
rich, healthy litany of "just shut up and code" ranting.

---
Tim
"I drank what?" - Socrates, 399 BCE

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lindows vs Xandros
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 08:52 AM EDT
http://business.newsforge.com/business/04/05/07/1954206.shtml

Though old news, anyone know anything about this case? Also "Linux Global
Partners" a VC company?

vegast

[ Reply to This | # ]

Licences
Authored by: tz on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 09:54 AM EDT
There is a difference between public property and abandoned property.

Somehow, people can't get the idea that just because no one specifically might
own a road or bike path that it is an abridgment of freedom to not allow them to
put up toll gates.

Even now, there are a lot of occupations that require licensing - many of which
are probably just to extract fees or reduce the numbers of people entering the
profession (my barber notes that everyone is required to learn how to do a style
that hasn't been popular since the '50s - not even for people in a retro mood).

Long ago, things like the South Seas and East India company had patents on trade
as apparently the oceans ought not be free for trade (if we didn't give them
exclusive rights, no one would fund it?).

The GPL might eventually disappear when no one can even think that software
ought not be free. But we aren't there yet and the legal system says you have
to claim property in order for it to remain under your control.

With apologies to PJ, but to paraphrase Dickens, The law is sometimes an Ass.
But when it is you ought to ride it instead of insisting on walking.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why toolkits should be LGPL not GPL
Authored by: eamacnaghten on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 10:28 AM EDT
Somewhat late to this discussion, Oh well.

If you look at possibly GNU's flagship product - GCC - you will find it not to be the GPL, but LGPL. This is no accident, it needs to be. Too much software would be excluded from free software platforms if it were not so. Or what more likely to happen is that you would get a collection of proprietary compilers with complex expensive licensing terms for those who need to release proprietary code.

The same really applies to toolkits. No-one is suggesting that derivatives of the toolkits themselves should be able to be proprietary, it is just that anyone who writes for the KDE desktop cannot create proprietary apps without paying money to Trolltech - Please note that KDE do not have a problem - It is Triolltech, the providers of QT.

The unusual thing about tollkits is that it is near impossible to use them without linking to the client libraries somehow. The situation can get silly. If I write a proprietary web app that runs in a web browser, then KDE's Konqueror can use it without myself having licensing issues (as can Firefox or any other). However, if I "de-webify" that app, create a GUI layer that can use a number of different toolkits, then I have to either pay QT the 5000 Euroes per developer (or whatever it is) or not use QT thus denying KDE users the experience.

Remember too that there are other reasons than money why apps may currently not be able to use the GPL. There may well be licensing issues that use other third party technology that exclude GPL. An example of this is the idiocy over XFree86, where a license was created that was not-for-money but GPL incompatible basically making it impossible to compile any X-clients under the new libraries that use the GPL (Including all non-commercial QT products such as KDE). Fortunately X.org was created (which was a good thing anyway IMHO) so things got back on an even keel, but it does highlight the dangers of being unneccessary dogmatic over free licensing.

The classic reply to the argument to "if you do not like the QT license then do not use it" is valid. And guess what? Why ido you think GTK and GNOME is so popular? It is no better than QT and KDE in most respects, and many consider the end-user experience to be better in KDE. However, GNOME is winning the desktop wars despite of this. It is easy for me to see why - which is why choose a desktop environment that excludes, or produces hurdles for, a whole lot of apps.

The GPL is not the answer for all free libraries and apps - which is why the LGPL was created and used in many cases for FSF software. Trolltech has produced a good cross platform product with QT - and it is great they (finally) released it under the GPL. However, the GPL is not write to standardise the desktop toolkit on.

Before flaming me may I point out I am a software developer and my entire current work I distribute under the GPL.

Web Sig: Eddy Currents

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OT: Darl reanimated
Authored by: belzecue on Monday, August 08 2005 @ 12:30 PM EDT
Thank goodness. I was starting to have Darl withdrawl symptoms. "All hat and no cattle, all hat and no cattle," I have been chanting while I trawled the net for new news from the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.

Here is Darl's new 'open letter' about why Linux is "all hat and no cattle, all hat and no cattle..."

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