corection qt is open source but gtk has no restrictions on use

Ed Cogburn edcogburn at
Sat Jul 23 17:00:30 UTC 2005


> On Fri, 2005-07-22 at 15:32 -0400, Ed Cogburn wrote:
>> ...that come up with this crazy stuff have nothing bad to say about
>> the Linux kernel which is released under the GPL rather than a "freer"
>> license...
> If you want to use the Linux Kernel you don't need to *link* against it!
> You only call some functions from "libc" (which is LGPL) or any other
> library to do your work.  So, personally I fail to see the connection
> between comparing the Linux Kernel with Qt or GTK+ (license wise).

You must have missed all the license debates which have gone on since Linus
made that decision.  In any event, the connection exists, IMO, because the
original arguments against the GPL then are similar to those now being used
against Qt.

>> ...(which to the FSF folks is a joke in itself), as many wanted it to,
>> yet it has succeeded far more than the "more permissively" licensed
>> BSD clones have.
> I'm a Linux fan (and I don't hate FreeBSD or any other flavor of the
> BSDs) but to know better why Linux had so much success compared to the
> BSDs you need to dig into history.  BSDs originally were *not* Free
> Software, not by a long shot!  They had a *lot* of propriety code back
> then that can't be released under a Free license.  At that time, a young
> OS was emerging that *is* 100% pure Free Software.  It's name was Linux.
> Hackers (not crackers, but hackers) were so delighted to have a
> Free/free OS that they can tinker with it's internals and was supported
> by a very good and open minded maintainer: Linus Torvalds.  *After* the
> huge success for Linux among hackers, geeks, and nerds around the globe,
> it starts to penetrate it's way to corporate markets (with the influence
> of those people of course).

I'm sorry, but I don't think you know the history well enough.  BSD Unix has
been free and clear ever since the original lawsuit by USL vs. University
of California at Berkley was settled, and the details of that settlement
have remained sealed to this day (rumor has it that USL had to settle out
of court because they were very likely going to lose their entire case in
court - suggesting that Unix, by this point, was essentially seen as public
domain or close to it in the eyes of a judge).  Because of that, the BSD's
have always been Free, and more importantly, have a clear legal standing
(SCO has no basis to go after the BSDs because of this - but can go after
Linux because it doesn't share the legal history of the BSDs).  This isn't
the reason Linux started, grew, and then passed them so quickly, IMO.  The
only difference was the license.  With a BSD license any contribution you
made could be used by anyone else, even a competitor taking it out of the
BSD OS and putting it in proprietary software (MS took networking code from
the BSDs for Windows early on).  With the GPL, IBM, for example, doesn't
have to worry about their contributions being used against them by
competitors, because their contributions, once released under the GPL, must
stay Free.

> Personally, I beg to differ!  GPL _is_ the best license out there for
> applications but not for libraries!  For those, the best license in my
> humble opinion would be LGPL.
> ...
> I know this post might start a new Holy War (that's if it isn't started
> already!) but all I meant of it is to explain why I believe that the GPL
> is great for applications but not for libraries.
> Ziyad.

I understand your perspective, but this is where the Free Software and Open
Source folks part company on.  Philosophically, the FSF would prefer people
use the GPL for libraries as well.  RMS has said so himself, despite them
being the ones to invent the LGPL for their glibc (with glibc being at the
core of a system where *everything* has to use it, its a much different
situation compared to other typical application libraries).  I'm not really
in one camp or the other, though I lean to the FS side, but I think I
understand both sides, which is why I'm so cynical of the claim that
cross-licensing somehow makes something less free, if anything it makes it
*more* free, because the software is now available in more possible ways. 
This argument would likely be objected to by *both* sides, but for
different reasons.

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