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The Debian System -- Concepts and Techniques The Debian System -- Concepts and Techniques
Martin F. Krafft Open Source Press / No Starch Press ISBN 3-937514-07-4 / 1-593270-69-0
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QPL situation not correctly described (page 33)

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Reported on: 2005-12-13

In chapter 2. The Debian Project on page 33:

In subsection "Into the next milennium" in section 2.1, I state that Trolltech, the manufacturer of the Qt library, "agreed to license the library under the GNU Public License (GPL) for non-commercial use."

Instead, it should read: "[Trolltech] agreed to license they X11/*nix library under the GNU Public License (GPL) thus making it compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines."

Discussion

A "GPL for non-commercial use" is an oxymoron, for the GPL (and the FSF exegesis thereof) demand "the right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software." Such a licence would also be in breach of the "no discrimination against fields of endeavour" imposed by the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

Previously the QT libraries had a license which allowed their use for non-commercial purposes only, and which did not allow for distribution of modifications. The controversy over the use of QT use in the GPLd KDE project can be read in more detail at http://www.kde.org/whatiskde/qt.php.

What Trolltech now have is two "editions" of QT, the "Open Source Edition", published under the GPL, and a "Commercial Edition" with a license that allows for distribution of non-free binaries.

Credits

Javier Candeira
Feedback

Kristin Shoemaker, linuxlibrarian.org: I highly recommend The Debian System to anyone interested in how free/open source software works. I especially recommend it to intermediate Linux users, whether or not they're running a Debian-based system (though I imagine they'll want to try one by the time they're done with the book).

 
 

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