[PyKDE] PyQwt win32 binary?

John J. Lee phrxy at csv.warwick.ac.uk
Wed Jan 31 23:44:52 GMT 2001

On Tue, 30 Jan 2001, Phil Thompson wrote:

> Scott Prive wrote:
> >
> > Phil Thompson wrote:
> > > Yes, I will no longer be producing a binary release of PyQt for Windows.
> >
> > Respectfully, I would ask "why"? I'm not sure  how many people use PyQT, but I
> > suspect it is important to at least a few. The spirit of the answer is important.
> I'll try to answer this fully - don't read anything into it that isn't
> there. These are my personal opinions, I'm not speaking for either
> theKompany or Trolltech.
> There is no single reason for deciding not to continue to release a PyQt
> binary for Windows. There were a number of influences over the
> decision...
> 1. Was it legal? This isn't clear. Trolltech's licensing is, as you say,
> confusing. However, when they drew it up I guess they didn't consider
> the case where somebody would obtain a commercial Qt license and then
> give away the resulting application.


> Trolltech have never, either explicitly, implicitly, officially or
> unofficially, used obscene words like "lawyer", "court" and "make you
> homeless". In all my dealings with Trolltech (including a visit to
> Oslo) they have been supportive of what I have been doing. However
> that situation is unsatisfactory - what if somebody changed their
> mind, what it Microsoft bought Trolltech?
> 2. Was it against the spirit of what Trolltech intended with their
> license? Yes it was. Trolltech's view of the world is that they want a
> cut if you are selling an application that uses Qt, but don't if you are
> giving it (and the source) away. My guess is that there is an assumption
> that anybody developing Windows software is going to sell it rather than
> give it away - hence no GPLed Windows version of Qt - or maybe Windows
> people don't have the same respect for software licenses that UNIX
> people do. By using a (possible) loophole in the Qt license I was
> creating something that went against the spirit (if not the letter) of
> that license.

Isn't it still illegal for a somebody to distribute non-free software that
requires PyQt under the free Qt license?  Perhaps this may be a debatable
legal point -- and I haven't read the license anyway.  On the other hand,
presumably it would be legal to distribute the binary itself.  IANAL.
Anyway, in the unlikely event I've understood the licensing terms
correctly, then it wouldn't be against the spirit of the license under
your interpretation of same for you to distribute the binary, but it would
be against both the letter and the spirit for people to distribute
non-free apps using PyQt without first paying for it under whatever
license TT want to offer Qt for this purpose.

However, I don't think that 'let free software be free, and non-free be
non-free' *was* the spirit.  If that *were* the spirit of the license,
presumably they would have released it under the same license for both
platforms.  IIRC, their stated reason for not doing so was along the lines
of 'we have to have something to attract customers that isn't available
free!' This is of course entirely their judgement to make, though I
confess it does seem a little odd to me personally.  This motivation does
make a free PtQt win binary against the spirit of the license, so you did
the right thing by stopping distributing it if that was indeed the idea
behind the license.

It's a bit of a shame that this wasn't sorted out before you started
putting out binaries, but I certainly don't want to pin any blame on
anyone for that -- just something to watch out for 'next time'.

> Give your application away on Linux and charge Windows user's for it
> (not much) as they expect to pay for software anyway. That gives a
> positive message about Linux (the land were software is free), but
> allows you to make a bit of cash and recover the cost of your BlackAdder
> license.

If you're using GPL software as a part of your software, I think I'm right
in saying that distributing the PtQt binary would clearly indicate that
your intention is for people to be able to use it on windows, and since
Qt/win is non-free and isn't a standard component of windows, that would
not be allowed under the GPL.  Aaargh, it's the KDE thing all over again -
I shall shut up now because I don't think there are many people who ever
really understood the legal position on that, and I'm certainly not one of


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