[kde-community] Request to join the Kde incubator for GCompris

Shlomi Fish shlomif at shlomifish.org
Fri Feb 14 02:24:12 UTC 2014


On Thu, 13 Feb 2014 21:19:31 +0100
Albert Astals Cid <aacid at kde.org> wrote:

> El Dijous, 13 de febrer de 2014, a les 13:42:15, Bruno Coudoin va escriure:
> > Le 13/02/2014 10:26, Jonathan Riddell a écrit :
> > > On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 04:48:00AM +0100, Bruno Coudoin wrote:
> > >> I am the creator and main developer of the educational software GCompris
> > >> (http://gcompris.net). It is released under GPL V3+. It contains about
> > >> 140 activities for children 2 to 10 years old.
> > > 
> > > It would be great to have GCompris join the KDE community.  Although
> > > I'll only agree to it if you promise not to change the name :)
> > 
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I did not mention that point and yes I agree with you, GCompris has
> > build a worldwide reputation under that name. Our users don't know and
> > don't care which underlying toolkit it is build on.
> > 
> > For those who don't know it, GCompris is a pun word, in French it is
> > pronounced 'j'ai compris' which means 'I have understood'. One may think
> > that the 'G' means Gnome or Gtk but the 'G' in GCompris means Gnu and I
> > forgot to mention that GCompris is officially a Gnu project:
> > http://www.gnu.org/education/edu-software-gcompris.en.html
> > 
> > > Our licence policy requires projects to be GPL 2+, this is simply to
> > > ensure an easy life when sharing code between projects in KDE.
> > > http://techbase.kde.org/Policies/Licensing_Policy
> > > 
> > > Would you be willing and able to relicence to GPL 2+?
> > 
> > The change to GPL 3+ was done to comply with the requirement of being a
> > Gnu project. As such it is not appropriate to go backward now.
> 
> As far as i see that leaves us with three options:
>  A) Say "No sorry" to GCompris because doesn't follow our licensing policy
>  B) Do an "ad-hoc" exception for GCompris
>  C) Change the Licensing Policy
> 
> A is obviously not what we want
> 
> B would mean the status quo would change the least but it'd also bring some 
> problems like "Why exception for GCompris and not ADFASDC?"
> 
> So maybe it's time we think about adding GPLv3+ to the Licensing Policy?
> 

I oppose that ("-1"), but note that I'm only a relatively minor KDE
contributor (only contributed some patches code-wise - some of which were not
applied, rejected or had to be reworked), so I don't have much say on the
matter. I'm also not a lawyer, and am not intimately familiar with
international copyright law.

What I do know is that:

1. GPLv3 was not commonly acceptable as a suitable licence. Many companies who
had no significant with GPLv2 won't get near any GPLv3-licensed code. Some
people told me you can licence your code as GPLv3 (or worse - AGPLv3), so
your code will still be considered "free-as-in-speech software" by the FSF, but
still will require companies to pay you for a commercial exemption licence
because they refuse to get near the GPLv3 and friends. I.e: the GPLv3 is a
free-as-in-speech software fig leaf.

2. As evident to whoever frequents http://freecode.com/ (formerly known as
Freshmeat.net ), the introduction of the GPLv3 has fragmented the GPL and
LGPL using projects into GPLv2-only, LGPLv2-only, GPLv2+, GPLv3+, LGPLv3+ and
AGPLv3+ (assuming I didn't forget anything). Often these fragments are
incompatible. There was some news items about a GPLv2+ project that decided to
become GPLv3+ to be more compatible with Samba (which was made GPLv3+), and
then had a problem because it wanted to link against the GPLv2-only kernel.
Similarly, the Free Software Foundation started GNU PDF which is GPLv3+ because
Ghostscript and Poppler were GPLv2-only.

The VideoLAN / VLC project took the opposite approach and after being unhappy
with the GPLv3, decided to convert all their GPLv2 code into LGPLv2.

3. As a developer, I always preferred to use permissive licences (first the
public domain, now tending more towards MIT/X11) whenever possible anyway, and
think that the GPLv2/GPLv3/LGPLv2/LGPLv3/AGPLv3/etc. are not necessary in this
day and age (assuming I could ever hope to truly understand any of them
without going to law school).

---------------------

Arguably, the GPLv3 is not too bad for standalone applications, and I'm glad
that at least the libraries will be kept LGPLv2+, but I fear it may fragment
the KDE’s project collective codebase.

But like I said, I don't really have a say for it. I'm OK with making an
exception for GCompris, though.

Regards,

	Shlomi Fish

-- 
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Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
Apple Inc. is Evil - http://www.shlomifish.org/open-source/anti/apple/

<danderson> “We are NO LONGER the knights who say ‘BitKeeper’. We are now
the knights who say ‘git, git, git, cogito — Linus!’.”

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