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The Debian System -- Concepts and Techniques The Debian System -- Concepts and Techniques
Martin F. Krafft Open Source Press / No Starch Press ISBN 3-937514-07-4 / 1-593270-69-0
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QPL situation not correctly described (page 33)

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Reported on: 2005-12-13

In chapter 2. The Debian Project on page 33:

In subsection "Into the next milennium" in section 2.1, I state that Trolltech, the manufacturer of the Qt library, "agreed to license the library under the GNU Public License (GPL) for non-commercial use."

Instead, it should read: "[Trolltech] agreed to license they X11/*nix library under the GNU Public License (GPL) thus making it compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines."


A "GPL for non-commercial use" is an oxymoron, for the GPL (and the FSF exegesis thereof) demand "the right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software." Such a licence would also be in breach of the "no discrimination against fields of endeavour" imposed by the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

Previously the QT libraries had a license which allowed their use for non-commercial purposes only, and which did not allow for distribution of modifications. The controversy over the use of QT use in the GPLd KDE project can be read in more detail at

What Trolltech now have is two "editions" of QT, the "Open Source Edition", published under the GPL, and a "Commercial Edition" with a license that allows for distribution of non-free binaries.


Javier Candeira

Mark Gibbs, Network World (28 Nov 2005): This book is unusual in that it is much more than a technical discussion - it delves into the philosophy of the system, explains how someone becomes a recognized Debian developer and details the way that Debian is licensed. That's not to say the book doesn't get technical. It provides a very well-written, soup-to-nuts explanation of how Debian is organized; how to install, configure and modify the system; and how to administer and secure it. Excellent and highly recommended.


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