Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Sat Jul 19 20:13:39 UTC 2008

On Jul 18, 2008, Antonio Olivares <olivares14031 at yahoo.com> 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,


It's a good thing as long as it doesn't bring harm.  The control
excised through non-Free Software does bring harm.

> The code has to be protected in some way to ensure that someone/or a
> company cannot claim the code to be theirs

Does this matter?

> and start selling it

Is this a problem?

> and not give anything back.  This is the good side of the GPL if
> there is one.

Forcing someone to give back would make the Software non-Free.  The
GPL doesn't do that.  It requires payforward, not payback.  See

> 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.

More like I scratch your back, you will scratch someone else's back.

In Brazil, it's common for beggers to thank with a phrase such as "May
God pay you back".  They realize they probably won't ever be able to
return the favor in kind, so they resort to asking some superior being
to intervene.  I'm often tempted to respond to this with something
like "The day you're in my shoes and you find someone else in yours,
please pay back then, not to me, but to this other fellow human

This is the nature of the GPL.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}

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