Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Gordon Messmer yinyang at eburg.com
Mon Jul 21 01:18:39 UTC 2008

Les Mikesell wrote:
> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> Just because you're prohibited from removing the copyright notice and
>> the license from code under one of the various permissive licenses,
>> it's not free, because it's under a restriction?
> If there was some use that this requirement prevented, then I'd say it 
> would make the code not free - but I can't think of any such use and 
> thus consider it free.

Allow me to paraphrase what you just said: "This restriction does not 
require me to do anything I don't want to do, and therefore represents 
no cost."

I think that in this instance especially, it is important to distinguish 
between "free software" and "Free Software".

Under the terms of the BSD license, I can redistribute a licensed work 
under several conditions:  The license must not be remove from source 
code, the documentation must note that the software contains BSD 
licensed components, and I may not use the name of the original author 
to promote derived works.  Now, since you don't see those as any cost to 
you, you consider this to be "free software".  That is, you're not 
paying anything for the privilege.

Under the terms of the GPL, I must also include source code whenever I 
distribute object code.  Since you don't want to do this, you see this 
as "non-free software".  However, this does not make the work not "Free 
Software".  The difference is that the right to redistribute Free 
Software comes with a price.  You must distribute the source code to any 
original work or derived work that you distribute.  As an author of GPL 
licensed software, I reject the idea that my work must be done for free. 
  I'm not doing work for free.  I *am* working to acheive Freedom, though.

Do you see the difference?

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