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

Theodore Ts'o tytso at mit.edu
Fri Nov 7 08:35:24 PST 2003

On Fri, Nov 07, 2003 at 11:16:41AM +0100, Dr. Giovanni A. Orlando wrote:
> I am not agree with you. It is clear that if a company includes a
> new Linux kernel and had included Qt ... and/or Gtk ... nothing
> happens, and the panorama remains, untouched, like now.

A company that ships a Linux kernel does not include anything of Qt
and/or Gtk.  Indeed, a company doesn't need to use Qt *at* *allI* in
order to compile a kernel.  Most of them don't actually --- since they
use real hackers, and real hackers tend to prefer to edit the .config
file via vi or emacs, and then run "make oldconfig".  I've never,
never, never built any of the GUI tools for configuring the kernel,
because it's so much faster to edit the .config file directly.

That is what makes the difference between the kernel's ***optional***
use of Qt, as a configuration tool, where the shipped kernel binary
does not include or use Qt AT ALL, and including Qt in the LSB, which
would implicitly cause ISV's to assume that they are free to use that
library in commercial applications --- which in fact, they would not
be able to do.

> >>... And there are no other way to configure the kernel graphically, 
> >>actually!
> >>
> >>This is not optionally, but the only possible choice.
> >
> >That is wrong, and you have already been told so. There are five ways to
> >configure the kernel: edit .config directly, make config, make
> >menuconfig, make gconfig, make xconfig. Two of those are graphical.
> >(Three, if you use a graphical editor for .config. Four, if you consider
> >make menuconfig being graphical, which it is. It uses ASCII and not
> >pixels for its graphics, but it is graphical.) Only one of those
> >requires Qt. AFAIK there are even more graphical kernel configuration
> >programs, which are not distributed with the kernel source code itself.
> >
> (See above)

See above.  Again, you're wrong.  I suspect that over the 12 years
that I have been building kernels, I have built several orders of
magnitude of kernels than you have, and not once have I ever built it
using the Qt code, or used a kernel that included the Qt code, and or
even had a system that had the Qt development on the code.  Sure, the
kernel sources may include optional, not-ever-been-used-by-me code
that happens to makes calls into Qt (as well as GNOME, now), but
that's completely irrelevant from a copyright standpoint.  

> >>Tcl/Tk was and is GPL, and allow to recompile the kernel
> >>graphically. Now, the choice is Qt. Well, if you don't make changes
> >>ti the LSB, people are configuring the kernel ... in some 'illegal'
> >>mode ... in accord with actual

No, the way people are configuring the kernel, it is perfectly legal
to use GPL'ed code, whether it be Tcl/TK or Qt, because they are not
shipping any code which links against these GPL'ed libraries.

The difference is that the way commercial ISB's use LSB libraries is
very different from a licensing requirement than from how people who
are using kernel configuration tools use the GPL'ed code.  If you
don't understand this, go talk to a lawyer.  I assure you that people
who are configuring the kernel are doing so on very solid ground, and
do not require any kind of commercial license.  However, ISV's wishing
to ship applications that use the Qt application would require a
commercial license.  And this is currently considered not acceptable.

> >>Again, because actually is blocked because licenses, commercial 
> >>licenses, but Qt is also available under GPL, you may enable Qt ...
> >>but Qt (GPL). And this means only the Qt when the terms are GPL and
> >>therefore for free software.
> >>
> >>This will solve the problem, I think.

Fundamentally, the LSB is not just for free software.  Part of the
LSB's goal is to make it simpler for ISV's to write commercial
software that will run on Linux.  If we don't give them an easy way to
do this, companies like Intuit and Delorme will continue to only write
commercial programs for Microsoft Windows.  And that would be a good
thing to change.  And specifying the Qt works against this particular
luadable goal.

							- Ted

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