Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Thu Jul 17 04:01:41 UTC 2008

John Burton wrote:
>> The side effect of the unneeded restriction of $90k dollars for a 
>> Mercedes is that I don't get to drive one.  Cry me a river.  
>> Cooperation is the cost of reusing GPL licensed software.
>> Close your eyes for a moment and picture a big red tag that reads:
>> That's the GPL.
> Okay, here are a couple of questions I haven't seen answered. There are 
> several "license" schemes put forth for Open Source software. GPL and 
> BSD are two that come to mind immediately. The purpose of "open source" 
> is to counter the traditional closed source model of software.
> o Which OSS license scheme does the best job of promoting "cooperation" 
> and reuse of the software? why?

This has been debated endlessly, but if you look at the historical 
examples I think you have to conclude that the evolution and reuse of 
code is an organic process and not very predictable - and that much of 
the best currently available open source code has gone through versions 
that were non-open for some periods of time.  Using the GPL prohibits 
that potential step in development where commercial funding might be 
contributing to subsequently available code - as well as any 
improvements that might come from components under different licenses or 
developers who refuse to encumber their work with the GPL restrictions.

> o Programmers live in the real world. They have to do mundane things 
> like pay rent/mortgages, pay bills (heat, gas, internet connection, 
> etc). Which OSS license scheme does the best job of supporting the 
> programmer ? (if the programmer has to spend 1/2 their time fund-raising 
> to support their programming, then is it worthwhile?) Why?

You need to propose a business model before that question can be 
answered in the context of open source.  If you are talking about 
selling/supporting a product while releasing the code, the GPL 
restrictions that limit the ways the code can be improved work to your 
advantage and if you own the copyright to the entire code base you can 
offer a different commercial license for some uses.  But, if you go out 
of business, the released GPL'd code is still stuck with the 
restrictions that limit the ways it can be re-used.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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