[kde-community] Repeating concers regarding the KDE Free Qt Foundation

Mirko Boehm mirko at kde.org
Sun Sep 1 12:32:47 UTC 2013


Hallo Olaf, 

thanks for this comprehensive summary. I added a reference to it to the reddit thread. 

Cheers, 

Mirko.

On Aug 30, 2013, at 19:17 , Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer <ojschmidt at kde.org> wrote:

> thanks for forwarding these comments.
> 
> As a board member of the KDE Free Qt Foundation, I will give some quick 
> answers here while I consider how to communicate these facts to the wider 
> public. Please feel free to quote my answer, or to link to this email in a 
> mailing list archive.
> 
> 1. The KDE Free Qt Foundation aims to protect all developers using the Free 
> Software called Qt. The contracts are therefore not limited to KDE. As one of 
> the largest volunteer-driven Free Software communities, KDE is well placed to 
> be the stewards of the interests of Free Software developers in general.
> 
> 2. The LGPL licence of all current Qt releases allows use in both proprietary 
> and Free Software applications and contains to platform-specific restrictions. 
> This licence grant cannot be retroactively taken away by Digia. In addition, 
> the KDE Free Qt Foundation can also relicense Qt under a different open source 
> licence (such as BSD) for general, even more permissive use. The Foundation 
> agreed not do so as long as Digia continues to release Qt as LGPL and with 
> support for at least desktop Linux and Android (“Qt Free Edition”).
> 
> 3. The contract with Nokia and Digia covers desktop Linux (X11, Wayland can be 
> easily added in the future). Digia has signed a second agreement which also 
> includes Android (Necessitas) and is identical to the first agreement in all 
> other aspects. Both agreements prohibit Digia from releasing a sub-standard 
> version of Qt as “Qt Free Edition”. In other words: The desktop Linux version 
> cannot be incomplete compared to the Windows and Mac versions, and the Android 
> version cannot be incomplete compared to the other mobile platforms.
> 
> 4. The differences between the various platforms have massively decreased 
> during the last years. The same codebase is used for the various platforms, 
> with minimal platform-specific code paths. This makes it more easy for third 
> parties to provide support for platforms not officially included in Digia’s LGPL 
> releases. We have opened discussions on whether to include the Windows and 
> MacOS platforms (first with Nokia, then with Digia), but we have not reached 
> any decisions yet given the legals pitfalls caused by the proprietary nature 
> of these platforms. For example, we do not know whether Microsoft or Apple 
> will prohibit or punish the development of LGPL-licensed libraries for their 
> platforms (cf. AppStore rules). Please feel free to contact me if you have 
> thoughts on this topic.
> 
> The legal framework of the KDE Free Qt Foundation is now more than 15 years 
> old (see http://kde.org/community/whatiskde/kdefreeqtfoundation.php).
> During this time, Trolltech was bought by Nokia, and Nokia sold Qt to Digia. 
> We had anticipated such contingencies and included very strong legal language 
> in the agreement and managed to ensure the continued validity of the 
> protection in all such cases. In addition to protecting Free Software users of 
> Qt, we have also accompanied various positive evolutions (relicensing to LGPL, 
> inclusion of the Android platform, and especially the open governance of the 
> Qt Project).
> 
> I invite developers using (or potential using) Qt to contact me with comments, 
> doubts, questions or constructive feedback on our work.

-- 
Mirko Boehm | mirko at kde.org | KDE e.V.
FSFE Fellow, FSFE Team Germany
Qt Certified Specialist and Trainer




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