Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Mon Jul 21 07:49:23 UTC 2008

On Jul 21, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com> wrote:

>>> Please show how something can
>>> include any GPL-covered work, yet be distributed under different
>>> terms if you insist on claiming that.

> Rahul Sundaram wrote:

>> I don't have to show anything like that.

> You don't, but why make such a claim when you obviously can't back it up?

I think you're pasting each other.  The question is just not related
with the sub-topic at hand, and it's ambiguous.

What do you mean by "include"?

If you mean something like "contain", then the answer is "mere
aggregation", i.e., when the combination of the GPL-covered work with
the GPL-incompatible work, not derived from the former, is a fully
mechanical, rather than creative, process.

If you mean something like C's "#include", then the answer can be
"clean room implementation".

Now, what you're asking is about modules that are not derived works.
There's no reason to assume a module needs to include (in either
sense) GPLed code.  This doens't mean it's easy, practical or even
legally bullet-proof, but it's on this kind of argument that non-GPLed
modules for Linux are justified.

Now, I'd rather not go into further details, because I don't feel like
offering a recipe on how to work around the spirit of the GPL,
especially because I don't entirely believe it would actually work if
ever disputed in a court of law.

>> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Licensing

> Those are licenses that can be usurped by the GPL requirements.

Err...  Did you notice how many of those licenses have a "NO" in the
"GPLv{2,3} compat" columns?

Are you by any chance confusing "FSF Free" (= respects the 4 freedoms)
with "GPL compatible" (= grants the permissions the GPL grants without
establishing any further requirements)?

> The GPL must apply to the work-as-a-whole.

But do you have any reason to assume that a module can't be a work on
its own?

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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