Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Matthew Saltzman mjs at clemson.edu
Fri Jul 18 20:12:43 UTC 2008

On Fri, 2008-07-18 at 12:31 -0700, 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.  

Sure, there is one, and that's exactly it.  The LGPL is one example of a
license that protects the code while permitting the creation of derived
works with mixed components.  The CPL is another.  There are several
more listed at opensource.org.  The MySQL open-source exception to the
GPL is another workable alternative (at least for the case where all
components are free[1]).

> > 
> > 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?
> The components can be shared, you just have to use the GPL and license
> your work on it.  This is like I scratch your back, but you will also
> scratch mine.  Cooperation is the key and interoperability between
> compnents like you have mentioned. 

If only we had control of all the pieces and could specify the

When we try to take free software components from other sources with
different (even free!) licenses and combine them to create new free
works, we are often stymied by the failure of the GPL to permit the
distribution of the result.  And it is not always possible (and almost
never easy) to resolve the conflicts.

[1] I think it also could be useful to be able to combine free and
proprietary software to create new works.

                Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu
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