[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.


	Shlomi Fish

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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