Baloo Framework - License Exception

David Faure faure at
Sun Jan 4 10:23:49 UTC 2015

On Tuesday 16 December 2014 14:02:18 Sebastian Kügler wrote:
> - If it's effectively GPL-licensed, it should not be a proper Framework

I would like to challenge this reasoning.

It seems to me that the premise is:
* we need baloo
* baloo currently needs Xapian
* Xapian is GPL
* the architecture we have now is that libraries coming from the KDE community 
are released together as KDE Frameworks, with an effort (greater than before) 
on making these libraries useful and useable outside the KDE community.
(BTW that effort is bearing fruit, I'm visiting a company in 2 weeks who is 
going to use KIO in an embedded-linux product)

>From these facts, a reasonable (IMHO) conclusion is that:
* we can release baloo as a framework, as long as we indicate clearly in its 
documentation that baloo is "effectively GPL" due to Xapian.

Let me try to make a pro/con list...

Releasing baloo as a framework:
+ gives it an automatic and painfree release schedule
+ simplifies version numbering ("KMyApp depends on KF 5.7" rather than "KMyApp 
depends on baloo 1.2 and KF 5.7")
+ makes it more consistent with the other frameworks (*apart* from the 
license), in terms of everything (naming, installed files, qmake support, 
etc.). This can be done in "baloo as a separate library" too (in fact that's 
the current situation), but then what do we have? It looks like a framework, 
it smells like a framework, it quacks like a framework, but it's released 
separately? That's a distinction that will not even appear to users (app 

Not releasing baloo as a framework:
+ makes it simpler to say "all frameworks can be used under the LGPL"

Are we going to shoot ourselves in the foot (= making our lives more 
complicated, by having a dependency that works differently from the other 
dependencies and has to be released separately) just so that we can say "all 
frameworks are LGPL" ?

Finally, note that releasing baloo as a framework doesn't contradict, which says the source 
files [of baloo] should be LGPL. They are. It's Xapian that isn't.

(What we should avoid is to use baloo from other frameworks, but that's a fact 
whether or not baloo itself is a framework or a separate lib.)

David Faure, faure at,
Working on KDE Frameworks 5

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