Licenses in kdelibs...

Adriaan de Groot groot at
Fri Oct 3 11:28:43 BST 2008

On Thursday 02 October 2008 12:29:16 Peter Antoniac wrote:
> On Thursday 02 October 2008 12:13:15 Terence Simpson wrote:
> > > Hmm, yes. But don't you find a contradiction between the statement of
> > > the kde- core-dev about kdelibs to be LGPL and the statement in the
> > > kdelibs-packages to be GPL? Shouldn't it be stated there that unless
> > > something else, here we have LGPL  as this is the license policy for
> > > kdelibs?

The license on the code itself is what counts; the license information given 
in the packages is *indicative* but not authoritative. You can't change the 
license by packaging stuff up and putting the wrong label on it.

The Debian packages *should* give correct indicative information about the 
license -- in this case GPL is more restrictive than LGPL, so that restricts 
potential usage scenarios, perhaps needlessly.

Someone else complained about this type of problem -- packages giving 
misleading license metadata on the code contained inside -- to me at a 
licensing workshop last month. It's a widespread problem, also in RPM-land and 
elsewhere. I'm going through the spec-files we're creating for Solaris right 
now to double-check licenses and it *is* quite a job to get it entirely right. 
That's why there's an industry in doing just that; for Free Software packaging 
I'd hazard that it's good enough to be conservative and list the most 
restrictive license in each package.

> > Changing it to be "Unless something else is mentioned, the code files in
> > this package are under LGPL" is a bit pointless IMO because the license
> > of the parts are already stated. Maybe it's something we could think
> > about doing next time we package a new kdelibs version, but I wouldn't
> > put much priority on it.

This is true, but Peter is right that the statement as it stands is pointless 
as well; since everything *is* mentioned explicitly to be LGPL licensed 
(except some examples, which are explicitly GPL licensed) the license blurb in 
the package may as well be

	Unless something else is mentioned, the code files in this package
	are under the Hactivismo (HESSLA) license.

[That's because the premise is never true.]

> To me, it is not that pointless. If the kdelibs are released with a license
> policy LGPL I don't see why you should change it in the package, unless you

It's not about the policy, actually, but about what the files themselves say. 
Bertjan Broeksema is looking into that, and I intend to pick up the license 
tool in kdelibs again shortly to check that everything is licensed that should 
be, and that the licenses are consistent.

> feel that you did something there that is GPL. From an OSS dev. it doesn't
> matter, but for a OSV/ISV it might make a lot of sense to have LGPL vs GPL
> in that text. My question still remains, why is it GPL and not LGPL there?


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