[lsb-discuss] Re: [lsb-futures] Qt libs ... included in the kernel 2.6 ... Why still blocked?

Theodore Ts'o tytso at mit.edu
Thu Nov 6 14:22:36 PST 2003

On Thu, Nov 06, 2003 at 10:34:23PM +0100, Dr. Giovanni A. Orlando wrote:
> >It's not blocked because people don't use it, it's blocked for license 
> >reasons. 
> >
> I know that very well ... But the Linux Kernel are using it!!!, in
> other words if someone that wants to compile the kernel in graphical
> mode will compile the file:
> /usr/src/linux-2.6.0-test9/scripts/kconfig/qt.cc
> that requeries the Qt library. What is the situation in this case about 
> the licenses?

The Qt license certainly allows an individual who chooses to use the
Qt method of configuring the kernel to use it, yes.  However, in the
case of an ISV writing a commercial application, they may not be able
to distribute code linked with the Qt license without first paying
royalties.  The requirement of making an ISV pay large amounts of
royalties to potentially dozens of entities is the reason for the LSB
licensing criteria which requires a no-cost license for use by
commercial applications.

Whether or not the Linux Kernel uses Qt (optionally!) as a
configuration mechanism is completely irrelevant to this particular

> ... So, actually both the Linux Kernel and Qt are at the same level: GPL.

The difference is that commercial applications don't have to link with
the Linux Kernel, so they don't have to pay licensing fees just
because they are running their application under the Linux Kernel.
However, this would not be true in the case of a commercial
application linked with Qt.  We do not want to specify the use of a
library where linking with that library may expose the commercial ISV
to needing to pay licensing fees.

I also don't think it's fair to make a group volunteers spend time
defining ABI's to a library which requires commercial licensing, when
all that would do is line the pockets of the copyright holder (in this
case, Trolltech).  On the other hand, if Trolltech were to join as a
FSG member, and provided the funding to define the ABI for its
library, *AND* there was a zero-cost functional alternative to Qt/KDE
(i.e. Gtk/GNOME) defined at the same time for use by commercial ISV's,
it might make sense for the LSB workgroup to make an exception to its
criteria.  But this would have to be an explicit workgroup decision,
based on these special circumstances.

(n.b.  This is me speaking with my own personal opinion, not as an FSG
board member.)

						- Ted

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