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Thread: Legal question about QT free edition

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    Default Legal question about QT free edition

    Hi, this is an imaginary situation.

    Pretend that I have a program (client) that connects to a server. This client, as well as the server, is made in Qt free edition.

    Now, I want to sell this client program. Is it allow ?

    I know that I have to give the source code of the client program, or allow users to download the source code too.

    When I give or sell the client program, does it mean that I have to also give away the server's source code ?

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    Quote Originally Posted by probine View Post
    Hi, this is an imaginary situation.
    Hi, it's not so imaginary

    Pretend that I have a program (client) that connects to a server. This client, as well as the server, is made in Qt free edition.

    Now, I want to sell this client program. Is it allow ?
    Yes, of course. But you have to respect the licence... And not only for Qt, but for things like icons as well.

    When I give or sell the client program, does it mean that I have to also give away the server's source code ?
    It depends, but probably yes.

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    The serves source code... probably yes !!!

    That is strange, because the license in only for when a program is given to the public.

    The server's program is never going to be given to anyone.

    If I do not want people to download my program (server), then why should I give the code ?

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    Quote Originally Posted by probine View Post
    That is strange, because the license in only for when a program is given to the public.

    The server's program is never going to be given to anyone.
    Well... and exactly this is a violation to the license... If someone requests the source code of the server, you are obliged to give it. At least this is my interpretation - I'm not a GPL specialist.

    If I do not want people to download my program (server), then why should I give the code ?
    Because the client uses it, hence it is "given to the public". But as I said - this is my interpretation. GPL is full of inconsistencies and doubts so someone else may interpret it differently

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    I remember reading it somewhere that you cannot use your software for any commercial purpose if it uses the free version of Qt. For commercial purpose you will need a commercial license of Qt.

    I think you will need to buy some Qt license in order to sell your software

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    My answer is It depends, if you have to distribute the server code or not ?

    Supposing that you have created a browser using Qt Open Source Edition, And you have a webserver made using Qt. Then you can consider these as two seperate applications. And choose to distribute only the Client part of it.

    But it the client is rendered useless without the server then you must distribute it. Once again, I am also not a lawyer. -- disclaimer ;-)
    We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    I am not a lawyer, but to the best of my knowledge, you do *not* need to make the source code for the server available. The GPL restrictions are only "triggered" upon distribution of the software. Since you distribute the client, you must make the client source code available. But you are not distributing the server, so these restrictions do not apply to the server.

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandybuck View Post
    I am not a lawyer, but to the best of my knowledge, you do *not* need to make the source code for the server available. The GPL restrictions are only "triggered" upon distribution of the software. Since you distribute the client, you must make the client source code available. But you are not distributing the server, so these restrictions do not apply to the server.
    This is my understanding as well

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#UnreleasedMods

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq....eGPLAllowMoney

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    However, using a GPL binary on a server which allows public access is the same as letting the public use the source, even if its use does not involve "distribution", aka downloading. How, pray tell, is your model any different than Microsoft's? They allow access ONLY to the binaries of apps they sell, regardless of how access is acquired.

    The first URL quoted above includes this statement:
    It is essential for people to have the freedom to make modifications and use them privately, without ever publishing those modifications. However, putting the program on a server machine for the public to talk to is hardly "private" use, so it would be legitimate to require release of the source code in that special case. We are thinking about doing something like this in GPL version 3, but we don't have precise wording in mind yet.
    which indicates that the "intent/spirit" of the GPL is being violated by such a business model and such activities, hopefully, will be restricted in GPLv3. IMO, it's no different than the dodge created by Novell/Microsoft, in that their agreement creates two classes of coders/users which the GPL doesn't recognize. One class constitutes those coders who contribute source code to OpenSUSE AND that source contribution makes it into Novell's commercial Linux product, SELS. Or, they use SELS. The other class of coders are those whose contributions to OpenSUSE do NOT make it into SELS, or who contribute source to the Linux kernel or other FOSS projects. Or, they use OpenSUSE or any other distro except SELS. The first class will not be sued by Microsoft. The second class has been threatened by Microsoft with possible lawsuits. That agreement, IMO, violates the GPL because it adds restraints to the GPL description of the rights users of GPL code have to freely use, modify and distribute GPL source.


    Because of Novell's agreement with Microsoft Novell now pays a ROYALTY to Microsoft for each copy of SELS that they sell, which is a tacit admission that Ron Hovsepian pays for MS IP "in Linux" even though no such code has ever been identified or substantiated in court. Novell, after the outrage expressed by the community, now "denies" that MS IP exists in Linux, but they continue to pay royalties for SELS sales. Now, following Novell's lead, two other corporations have signed on to pay MICROSOFT for the privilege of using Linux!


    Both ideas SHRED the GPL. If those kinds of activities are allowed to stand the GPL could face serious problems in FUTURE court cases if such activities are pointed out to the court as examples of non-enforcement.

    My advice: come clean and buy a license IF you plan to make money selling software OR selling ACCESS to binaries you create using QT. After all, it took a while to convince Trolltech to release the QT API under the GPL on Windows. Abuses like this could cause them to revoke the GPL version on Windows, or switch to another license which expressly prohibits such abuse that sneaks around the GPL. Otherwise, use the OTL and write your own GUI API from scratch.

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    But Qt Free Edition is still GPL version two, and it is still based on copyright law, and is not a EULA. It does not make a distinction between non-distributed private use and non-distributed public access. The GPL v3 will be different, but that is in the future.

    But talk to a lawyer and/or Trolltech. Or read the GPL yourself. This issue is between you and Trolltech. No one else has any stake whatsoever in this. Not the FSF, not Microsoft, not Novell, not me. Just you and Trolltech. So stop getting spurious legal advice from geeks, and talk to a lawyer.

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    Default Re: Legal question about QT free edition

    Just stumbled upon this (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html). Maybe not very relevant for this exact situation, but explains some things regarding commercial applications of free (GPL) software.

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