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Fun and games with the GPL

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The GPL has been described as a "viral" licence because while GPL code is free for all to use, if you use it as part of your own project, it must too fall under the GPL's terms. This restriction ensures that GPL code can't be ripped off wholesale by commercial closed-source apps, and creates an environment that encourages people to re-use existing open-source code in new open-source projects.

Where the GPL falls down is at the boundary between open-source and closed-source software. Even the simplest programs rely on system libraries to run, and if those libraries were under the GPL, any software using them would have to be as well. Put simply, if the core Linux libraries were under the GPL, it would be illegal to run any closed-source software on a Linux system.

This problem lead to the LGPL (originally the "Library" GPL, but now called the "Lesser" GPL), which removes the "viral" clauses. If you make changes to LGPL code, then you have to release those changes, just like with the GPL, but if you just use the code with your project as-is, then your project remains free of any licencing issues. The LGPL is used on most Linux libraries, including the Linux core libraries and the GTK GUI toolkit.

Why, then, did Qt use the standard GPL?

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Keep the Bees Going


MANCHESTER is known as the city of "working bees" because of the work ethics or its hard-working people. Working bees are the symbol of Manchester, where my wife and I are based and spend each day -- morning, afternoon, evening and sometimes night -- posting updates here in Tux Machines.

The end of the year is fast approaching. Literally 22 days left, i.e. 3 weeks and a day. We wish to thank those who tipped up yesterday to keep us going. We accept donations through PayPal and we're grateful for any contribution readers can make, even if as meager as a cup of coffee's worth. It gives my wife and I motivation to continue and circulate updates as soon as we find them. Thank you! :-)