Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Fri Jul 18 20:01:11 UTC 2008

Antonio Olivares wrote:
>> Code that is freely available doesn't need protection
>> as nothing can 
>> happen to it other then someone else using and improving it
>> which is a 
>> good thing regardless of what else happens to that copy
>> subsequently.
> I am sure many would disagree with this, The code has to be protected in some way to ensure that someone/or a company cannot claim the code to be theirs and start selling it and not give anything back.  This is the good side of the GPL if there is one.  
>> Long ago it might not have been completely predictable that
>> many end 
>> points of the longest-developed paths of unix development 
>> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Unix_history-simple.svg)
>> would be 
>> open-sourced but it was never out of the question either. 
>> Having that 
>> big chunk isolated by the GPL and unable to share
>> components is just bad 
>> for everyone.
> Unix is not GPL'd, Linux is or did I miss something here?

Open source, not GPL'd - they mean different but overlapping things. 
The *bsd's have always been open sourced but all of the original unix 
functionality from the AT&T underpinnings was re-written.  OpenSolaris 
should include as much of the originally proprietary work as they have 
been able to release.

> The components can be shared, you just have to use the GPL and license your work on it.

Some people might not choose to restrict their work that way and much 
work that has already been done can't now be GPL'd.

>> This is like I scratch your back, but you will also scratch mine.

But the *bsd's scratch your back without making any demands - and would 
consider them philosophically and morally wrong.

>> Cooperation is the key and interoperability between compnents like you have mentioned. 

But the GPL concept of prohibiting redistribution unless requirements on 
the 'work as a whole' are met makes this impossible in many cases, 
especially at the kernel level where components like drivers and 
filesystems become part of the 'whole'.

    Les Mikesell
      lesmikesell at gmail.com

More information about the fedora-list mailing list