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Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

User avatar RyanBram
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Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:01 am
I read KDE Policies/Licensing Policy at http://techbase.kde.org/Policies/Licensing_Policy.

On the fourth clause I read that:
"Source files that are part of a library with a public API which is part of the KDE Platform (kdelibs, kdepimlibs and kdebase-runtime) must be licensed under LGPL, BSD, MIT, X11 license."

On the fifth clause I read that:
"Any other source files must be licensed under one of the terms listed under fourth clause or GPL."

Though the base of KDE was licensed under the weaker copyleft than GPL, but some of the KDE important part still covered under strong copyleft license, for example Dolphin, KDE Control Center, Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook. I think the current license will hamper one of the overall goals of KDE Platform, that is to make it easy for KDE applications to be portable to different operating systems. Because other operating system than Linux may have license or goal that was incompatible with GPL. If this case can cause those operating system choose to develop their own Desktop Environment it will wasting time and money. So why not join the game together to reach everybody goals by relicensing the KDE important part to the lesser copyleft license. KDE applications can still covered under GNU GPL, but user interface shouldn't.

Best regards,
RyanBram


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:05 am
I think the opposite. It may hamper (only partially) adoption, but I prefer KDE sticking to Free licenses like that. It prevents the existence of "open core" and similar things, and ensure that contributions will always get back to the community.


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:20 am
I didn't intended the license for the entire KDE software. I just intended it to the user interface. What can proprietary do with KDE Control center? Not much. So I think we shouldn't worry about future existence of free software just because relicensing user interface to the lesser copyleft. The relicensing will give much benefit to the small project like Haiku (operating system) who believe to licensed their OS with permissive license. GPL will hamper their objective, because combining Haiku and KDE can risk future objective of Haiku just because the entire combination must be relicensed under GPL.

So I think the best solution for that is LGPL (I even didn't recommend permissive license). This is a solution that satisfies those who wish to produce free software, and also those producing proprietary software or having different goal. The free software is still free, and the derivative still get back to the community. But this is give more freedom to the developers to treat their own implementation as they wish (free as freedom ;) ). GPL will limit this freedom, because even with some other free software GPL, still have compatibility issues.

We can see by ourself even the free software still need proprietary software. Device driver, flash, codec, etc. Freedom of software is very important, but the usefulness of software is much more important. Linux without binary bloob is useless. Distro without proprietary codec cannot playback our favorite movie.

I believe in the open-source philosophy and release the source code for us. I owe a lot to the Free Software movement and to the GPL but I also owe a lot to all developers who have had good ideas and created great tools and who have been working to make software better. Some of them have released their source code as well and have thus granted me more freedom and more flexibility. Others released their software with proprietary licenses and no source code, and although this doesn't give me the freedom I would like, it still contributes to make software better. I like Software in general, Free Software even more, but I do not believe in boycotting Proprietary Software.

Linux Torvlads has said "I use the best tool for the job, even if that includes proprietary software."

Clement Lefebvre (Linux Mint Founder)also has said:
"Freedom should be granted to the developer to decide whether he wants to distribute his source code or not. I don't see why he wouldn't (unless he's not familiar with open source and maybe scared of not generating profit... I don't know) but the thing is, this is his choice. Similarly it's your choice and your freedom to use his software or not. Having some political movement telling you to restrict your own choice and boycotting good and helpful software just because you didn't get the source code with it is simply going against your own freedom."

Best regards,
RyanBram


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:24 am
I think this is a "Discussions & Opinions" forum. But with so many viewer in this topic, I wonder why there is no one who give me feedback, including moderator and administrator. Are there something wrong with my post? Are my post not constructive enough? I didn't know if my post above is sensitive or not, neither I didn't intend to start Free and Proprietary debate. I just want to share my opinion with the entire KDE Community Members. If you don't agree with my opinion, so let me know. Through this discussion I hope that KDE can attract more users because I think feature and eyecandy interface just part of reasons why people using a software. There are many other reasons why people using software, including freedom, financial interest, usability. Not every one can lend their hand to KDE Project in programming side, someone may just can give donations, some giving opinions, some helping in promotion, some just become loyal users, etc.

Thanks,
Ryan


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:47 am
In general, the parts of the KDE Workspace which are GPL are themselves applications - usually freely modifiable using plugins, which are constructed using interfaces in the LGPL libraries - so there is no issue here.


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing  Topic is solved

Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:54 am
Hi Ryan,

let me reply to you with a little help from a friend of mine who volunteers at the FSFE, Hugo Roy. I mark Hugo's quotes with HR:'...'
RyanBram wrote:I didn't intended the license for the entire KDE software. I just intended it to the user interface. What can proprietary do with KDE Control center? Not much. So I think we shouldn't worry about future existence of free software just because relicensing user interface to the lesser copyleft. The relicensing will give much benefit to the small project like Haiku (operating system) who believe to licensed their OS with permissive license. GPL will hamper their objective, because combining Haiku and KDE can risk future objective of Haiku just because the entire combination must be relicensed under GPL.

HR:'I never heard of such things and anyway, since Haiku already has its own custom DE, etc. this does not make a lot of sense factually.

Legally combining Haiku with KDE would not mean "the entire combination must be relicensed under GPL." That's totally outside the reach of GPL's copyleft.'
So I think the best solution for that is LGPL (I even didn't recommend permissive license). This is a solution that satisfies those who wish to produce free software, and also those producing proprietary software or having different goal.

HR:'I'd say the opposite: it's a solution that will probably satisfy no one.'
The free software is still free, and the derivative still get back to the community. But this is give more freedom to the developers to treat their own implementation as they wish (free as freedom ;) ).

HR:'So it gives more freedom to some developers to take away freedom from the users (i.e. also from other developers) which is exactly against the concept of "getting back to the community."
GPL will limit this freedom, because even with some other free software GPL, still have compatibility issues.

HR:'Saying that GPL limits freedom is totally untrue. The GPL gives more rights than copyright law ever gives to users (restricting freedom would mean to give less rights); and the GPL safeguards rights of users compared to non-copyleft licenses, thus giving more freedom to everyone.'
We can see by ourself even the free software still need proprietary software. Device driver, flash, codec, etc. Freedom of software is very important, but the usefulness of software is much more important. Linux without binary bloob is useless. Distro without proprietary codec cannot playback our favorite movie.

HR:'That doesn't make any sense to me.'
I believe in the open-source philosophy and release the source code for us. I owe a lot to the Free Software movement and to the GPL but I also owe a lot to all developers who have had good ideas and created great tools and who have been working to make software better. Some of them have released their source code as well and have thus granted me more freedom and more flexibility. Others released their software with proprietary licenses and no source code, and although this doesn't give me the freedom I would like, it still contributes to make software better.

I can't subscribe to that: The only way to really make all software better is to make all software free.
This ir known as a promo. I like Software in general, Free Software even more, but I do not believe in boycotting Proprietary Software.

This is not about boycotting proprietary software but about making Free Software.
Linux Torvlads has said "I use the best tool for the job, even if that includes proprietary software."

Well, Linus Torvalds was never a political promoter of Free Software and doesn't get involved into politics at all AFAIK. He chose the GPL when he started Linux out of sheer opportunity, and there is simply no other license out there that gives all the freedom, at least I know none.
Clement Lefebvre (Linux Mint Founder)also has said:
"Freedom should be granted to the developer to decide whether he wants to distribute his source code or not. I don't see why he wouldn't (unless he's not familiar with open source and maybe scared of not generating profit... I don't know) but the thing is, this is his choice. Similarly it's your choice and your freedom to use his software or not. Having some political movement telling you to restrict your own choice and boycotting good and helpful software just because you didn't get the source code with it is simply going against your own freedom."

Well, that is his opinion, it doesn't engage anybody.

What I don't get here is why you talk about license while the difference in Linux Mint is just that they ship proprietary codecs (proprietary by patent law, not by license) and a few proprietary software packages that are free to distribute, none of it being even by far related to KDE or linked statically to by KDE. So IMHO the whole discussion is on wrong premises to start with as KDE is a community that makes software, not a software distribution. We offer a software collection to distributions and to users who want to compile those, but we are not involved in distributing software ourselves.

Also, KDE runs on Windows and Mac as well as on Linux, no license issues here at all as it doesn't need to link statically to any of the platform components so there simply is no need for the LGPL at all.

If you really want to discuss licenses with the people who know the real thing, also from the legal POV I suggest you subscribe to this mailing list: https://mail.fsfeurope.org/mailman/listinfo/discussion I think the KDE forum is just not the right place for that.


Mamarok, hanging out in the Amarok forum since August, 2007
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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:52 pm
Thanks Mamarok for kindly answered my question. I satisfied with your answer and its very clear to me. I find the explanation that you provided has answered all of my questions and opinions. But before I close this discussion, please let me convey you why I open this discussion and give some comment to some of your answer:

1.
I never intended to open this discussion for opening Free vs Proprietary Software debate, because it will never end. I just want to share my opinion what is better for KDE in my mind, "only in my mind";

2.
Mamarok wrote:Hi Ryan,
let me reply to you with a little help from a friend of mine who volunteers at the FSFE, Hugo Roy. I mark Hugo's quotes with HR:'...'

You give answer for me with help from your friend who volunteers at the FSFE. I can guess from beginning what kind of answers that he will gives to me, because FSF was established for supporting GNU project which was the most recommend the use of GNU GPL above any other free software licenses.

3.
Mamarok wrote:HR:'I never heard of such things and anyway, since Haiku already has its own custom DE, etc. this does not make a lot of sense factually.

I'm sorry if my example didn't make a lot of sense. Actually, I just want to try to explain that in this era anything can happen. For example (just for example because any other more complex situation can be happen), Softwares under MPL version 1.1 (and many others) are also free softwares, but those wasn't even compatible with GPL-ed softwares. That's mean GPL not only limits proprietary software, but also limits other free software. So which one which limiting the freedom of the others?

4.
Mamarok wrote:HR:'I'd say the opposite: it's (LGPL*)a solution that will probably satisfy no one.'

So, is LibreOffice (LGPL-ed software) a solution that will probably satisfy no one?

5.
Mamarok wrote:HR:'So it gives more freedom to some developers to take away freedom from the users (i.e. also from other developers) which is exactly against the concept of "getting back to the community."

I think his knowledge about GNU license is better than me, but I wonder how could he argue that LGPL-ed software can be taken away from free software community. As far as I know, LGPL-ed software cannot be relicensed except under GPL. The only thing that developers can do is treat their own implementations as they wish. For me it is fair because they will give back any improvement of free software they made to the community and they still have their right to do everything they want as the developers. (Free as freedom, not free as free sofware)

6.
Mamarok wrote:HR:'Saying that GPL limits freedom is totally untrue. The GPL gives more rights than copyright law ever gives to users (restricting freedom would mean to give less rights); and the GPL safeguards rights of users compared to non-copyleft licenses, thus giving more freedom to everyone.'

Copyright is more restricted than GPL. GPL is more restricted than LGPL. LGPL is more restricted than permissive license. Permissive license is more restricted than Public Domain.
I think this is the most objective argument for everyone.

7.
Mamarok wrote:I can't subscribe to that: The only way to really make all software better is to make all software free.

I disagree with your statement. Because for me LinuxMint KDE is better than Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Office is better than LibreOffice, Firefox is better than Internet Explorer, Photoshop is better than GIMP, etc.
The conclusion is, for me and I think for many other casual computer users the best software can come from everywhere (proprietary corporation, non-profit organization, free software community, etc) and not just only come from free software movement.

8.
Mamarok wrote:This is not about boycotting proprietary software but about making Free Software.

So, free software is more important than freedom and usability?

9.
Mamarok wrote:What I don't get here is why you talk about license while the difference in Linux Mint is just that they ship proprietary codecs (proprietary by patent law, not by license) and a few proprietary software packages that are free to distribute, none of it being even by far related to KDE or linked statically to by KDE.

As far as I remember, I never mentioned LinuxMint in my opinion except Clement Lefebvre the LinuxMint founder. And about proprietary codec or proprietary software packages that are free to distribute, those are just an example to convey that the best and most useful software is come from combination between proprietary and free software.

10.
Mamarok wrote:So IMHO the whole discussion is on wrong premises to start with as KDE is a community that makes software, not a software distribution. We offer a software collection to distributions and to users who want to compile those, but we are not involved in distributing software ourselves.

That is the main reason why I start this discussion. I am very agree with you that "KDE is a community that makes software, not a software distribution. KDE offer a software collection to distributions and to users who want to compile those, but KDE are not involved in distributing software itself."
In my opinion, KDE as a community that makes software, not a software distribution should stand in the middle (maybe LGPL is the best), not too far to the left (I think it is more resemble to communist than liberal) and not far to the right (proprietary-capitalist). KDE must let the developers to choose how they should distribute the software. It makes KDE software more benefits for the people or mankind than limiting what the developers can or must do. It is not about statically or dynamically linking with other software, it is about freedom. Because any complex situation in the future can happen without us even realizing it. We must prevent it from now before everything gets more complicated.
The fact that free software movement also has the support from many proprietary company proves that there is nothing wrong to brings the benefits of proprietary and free software together. Though proprietary companies cannot share source codes, but they still can contribute to Free Software movement in different way (financial support, professional support, etc).
For me KDE is not GNOME nor part of GNU project. So there are no obstacles to take different path from GNOME or GNU project.
I never agree with the statement that every proprietary is evil. I am very sure that in some case not all of your private secrets can be shared. It is actually equal as not all the source code can be shared. This is not because you do not want to share to the others or you want to restrict freedom of the others, but just simply because it can not be shared for some reasons. Whatever the reasons, we must respect it as a freedom as long as this does not violate the rights of others.

After all, I want to convey that it's just my opinion. There is not my intention to begin free vs proprietary software debate, so for me it's over. I just want to give suggestion that for me will give more benefit for the future of KDE project. I respect whatever decision of the KDE developers and I will still use KDE software because I feel it suitable for me (not because it is free software, but because it is usable). Thanks to the KDE community members who are willing to read and respond my questions and opinion, I'm very satisfied with this discussion. I hope in the future KDE Community can continue to make more good software and provide more benefits for the sake of mankind.

KDE Lover,
Ryan Bram (Free as freedom)

Notes:
Just for information, but as far as I know some of well known free software project already relicensed their software under the lesser restrictive licenses than GNU license variants. Example SDL 2.0 (zlib license), Apache OpenOffice (apache license), Qt (prefer BSD license)(actively working to reduce Qt’s dependencies on LGPL-only licensed code), etc.

Last edited by RyanBram on Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:20 pm
RyanBram wrote:
Notes:
Just for information, but as far as I know some of well known free software project already relicensed their software under the lesser restrictive licenses than GNU license variants. Example SDL 2.0 (zlib license), Apache OpenOffice (apache license), Qt (prefer BSD license), etc.


Did you actually read the License information for Qt? Apparently not, else you would know that Qt has a triple-licensing model: GPL, LGPL and Proprietary license through Digia. Please be more careful when stating things that you didn't verify...


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:20 pm
Mamarok wrote: Did you actually read the License information for Qt? Apparently not, else you would know that Qt has a triple-licensing model: GPL, LGPL and Proprietary license through Digia. Please be more careful when stating things that you didn't verify...

You right if I open this.

But if you read carefully the link that I mentioned in my previous post, you'll find statement that said:
"As the Qt Project desires to facilitate the broadest Qt ecosystem and given that LGPL-only licensed code hinders participation by some Qt commercial users, the Qt Project is actively working to reduce Qt’s dependencies on LGPL-only licensed code."

CMIIW :)
RyanBram


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:56 pm
"LGPL-only licensed code" means code that doesn't already have the triple license. This doesn't mean going away from the LGPL, please do not interpret things that aren't written.


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:16 pm
Mamarok wrote:"LGPL-only licensed code" means code that doesn't already have the triple license. This doesn't mean going away from the LGPL, please do not interpret things that aren't written.

Okay. So this is my fault. I'm sorry. I will edit my statement in my previous post. But I think this statement still gives strength for my opinion that LGPL-only licensed code hinders participation by some commercial users.
Thanks for giving correction to my last notes. I will be more careful in my next post.

Regards,
RyanBram


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Re: Upcoming KDE 5 Licensing

Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:41 am
I would argue that such commercial users are not really wanted in the ecosystem, then. If there are rules (licenses) you need to abide to them.


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