Re: Linus Speaks About KDE-Bashing

Linus Torvalds (
Sat, 11 Jul 1998 21:15:00 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 11 Jul 1998, Alan Cox wrote:
> > >My opinion on licenses is that "he who writes the code gets to chose his
> > >license, and nobody else gets to complain". Anybody complaining about a
> > >copyright license is a whiner.
> As Linus isnt it seems aware of this its worth reminding the KDE people that
> they DID NOT WRITE ALL THE CODE. Every line of GPL'd code taken from things
> like GIMP at the express displeasure of the GIMP team for example. I don't
> think anyone could argue about a KDE "pseudo GPL license" as it stands
> now if it was all new code (ie the GPL but we think Qt is ok because...
> license). Authors can pick any license the like.

All the arguments I've seen against KDE have been the spacious arguments
that "KDE uses a non-GPL license, and as such it must be bad". I don't buy
into that.

If they in fact are violating _other_ peoples copyrights, that is a
completely different matter, and I never implied that I allowed that.
Violating other peoples copyright is a crime, and anybody who thinks I
thought that was ok didn't read my message.

IF the KDE people are indeed doing that, then it is unacceptable, no
question about it. And you can actually sue them.

However, what _I_ was complaining about is that all of the flamage I have
seen have not been about any crimes, but have been about people not liking
the QT copyright. And I have grown too tired of seeing peoplg complaining
about BSD people who want to use the BSD copyright, or GPL people who want
to use the GPL.

I was only trying to support _anybody_ who uses whatever copyright they
choose. Whether GPL, BSD, free, half-way proprietary or 100% proprietary.
He who writes the code gets to say the copyright, and _nobody_ has the
right to complain about his/her choice of copyright. That is unethical.

Anybody _violating_ a copyright is not just unethical, but downright
criminal, and I have never condoned such behaviour. I thought that went
without saying, and as such I said only the part that obviously is very
hard for some people to understand.


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