Do we want to be 1991 forever?


KDE’s licensing policies do not allow GPLv3+, LGPLv3+ and AGPLv3+ software in KDE’s repositiories (I guess it is for git, too, not only for SVN). But do we really want to keep that policy? There are more and more web-applications, ugly cloud-stuff, “software as a service”, is growing, and developers want to protect their Free Software by using the GNU Affero General Public Licens e. KDE is going to be adapted on embedded devices, and we should not care about tivoization? We should only use a 1991 license not targeting a lot of important issues of our times? Why should a KDE-application not be relicensed under the conditions of the GLPv3+ or AGPLv3+? In many cases that may be good. Why should there not be new GPLv3/AGPL development? Should developers fearing cloud-services not be integrated into KDE-community? We are not BSD, we want to protect ourselves, WebOS is coming soon, GPLv2′s copyleft may become completely noneffective, and we – usually accepting copyleft – should be stuck in GPLv2? That may be really, really bad. Should we care about GPLv2 only software which would not be able to integrate (A)GPLv3 software? No, they should start caring about the problems of GPLv2, and we should also think about the (A)GPLv3 only software we are currently excluding from being integrated into KDE. Btw: ownCloud already violates the licensing policy (though it may be invalid, because it does not mention git), and I am sure we will find more “mislicensed” software in the repositories.


9 Responses to “Do we want to be 1991 forever?”

  1. Lukas Says:

    For someone like me, who does not keep track of licensing issues, the review of the key differences and innovations between them as well as what does it means in everyday language”, would help to understand what you are talking about much better.

  2. The User Says:

    GPLv2: Plain Copyleft
    GPLv3: No more tivoization + some more safety (better definition of “source code”, “system library” etc., patent-prevention)
    APGLv3: GPLv3 + network applications have to ship sourcecode, too
    For further details read Wikipedia and .

  3. Diederik Says:

    This doesn’t look like news, but an internal question, in a very ranted braindump format.

    Please write such posts (in non-ranted format) on the mailinglist.

  4. Aaron Seigo Says:

    first, this belongs on the licensing mailing list, not on a blog entry where it is unlikely to do any good.

    beyond that, GPLv3 is allowed, just not for libraries for what should be fairly evident reasons. AGPL simply hasn’t been proposed afaik. if ownCloud or someone else needs it, then propose it.

    up until now it hasn’t been needed and we have striven to keep our licensing strategy/story simple.

  5. Elv13 Says:

    GPLv3 is not a good idea, Android is propably the best oportunity we ever had to grow our market share. Going GPLv3 will close many doors when it come to use Plasma as an Android shell (it will be possible at some point). Tivoisation is bad, but if it is the price to pay to become mainstream, I would be ready to pay it. It’s the same for Linux, it need GPLv2 to trive, GPLv3 would end all development but RedHat and Novell patches. It’s why GPLv3 does not have momentum and will never have.

  6. The User Says:

    @Aaron Seigo
    No, according to the policies for any application GPLv3 is not a valid licensing option, just “GPL 2 + GPL 3 + later versions” is allowed, see this blog-entry. Btw. the policy is not really simple, imo “simple” would mean allowing just any FSF-approved license + some CC for media.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    @Elv Stricter rules help the ecosystem in general, while it might hold quick progress back. That was the same with GPLv2 vs. BSD. Maybe we cannot go Android quickly, but seriously, do you think that a KDE stack on top of would really attract more than some geeks? We need to target devices where we can define a full FOSS stack with proper packaging support and Android has to grow in this direction first. Otherwise the nice split of components in KDE will be lost in App-Store hell (no real shared-library dependency-management).

  8. Arno Says:

    @The_User: Despite what John Layt has blogged, I’d read that paragraph as (GPL2 || GPL2+ || GPL3+). However, I’m no expert, so could someone with more knowledge please enlighten us?

    On a side note, I agree with Aaron that this really belongs to the licensing mailing list.

  9. Alex Merry Says:

    I believe John Layt is correct: GPL3+ (and GPL3-only) code is not allowed in KDE’s repositories. Whether we should allow it is something that should be discussed on the kde-licensing email list. Note that there could be potential issues lurking there where some libraries may be GPL2-only, and so could not be used by a GPL3-only program.

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