Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Mon Jul 21 18:17:25 UTC 2008

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

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> This is fundamentally contradictory.  If you have to choose between
>> these two, you're choosing between promoting either FS or OSS. 

> It is a problem the GPL creates.

That's a red herring.  The GPL has *zero* to do with it.

If we didn't have the GPL, or even copyright law, the movements would
still have different values and goals.  You're just confusing yourself
by bringing the GPL into the picture, and you might be confusing
others in the process.

>> I.e., you're promoting one in detriment of the other.  How can that
>> be promoting FOSS?

> How would you propose dealing with it when your purpose is to promote
> FOSS and as many choices as possible, then?

I've already explained that "prmoting FOSS" doesn't make sense for
starters.  Therefore, promoting FOSS and something else is just adds
more conflicting goals to the mess.

How about you step back and analyze what you mean by "promoting FOSS",
like I have?

>> The FS movement cares about software freedom, so an essential part of
>> this movement is to not accept, endorse or promote software that
>> denies users any of the 4 essential freedoms, even if this means
>> inconvenience for or even a delay in the liberation of some users.

> I believe they are misguided in applying restrictions that make it
> impossible to use GPL code in many situations.

Red herring and false premise.

>> The OSS movement cares about popularity and convenience, so an
>> esential part of this movement is to accept, endorse and promote the
>> use of software that denies users their freedoms, when that is
>> convenient and can lure in more users.

> 'Luring' someone is a strange concept here. You seem to imply that
> someone who has a choice to use a piece of software does not have the
> same choice to replace it with another piece later.

That's correct, and that's precisely where the power that the Free
Software movement opposes stems from.

> That's not the case and even if it were, the correct solution would
> be to encourage the production of as many other choices as possible.
> People always have the freedom to choose and change.

Except when they're lured in, and only realize they're trapped when
it's too late or too difficult to escape.  CQD.

>> Do you see that a
>> step forward for one amounts to a step backward in the other?

> Not at all.  The more choices you have the better. You can only go forward.

You're evaluating the scenario under your own system of value and
prejudices, not under the two very different systems of values of the
two movements I have described.  IOW, it's circular logic, and the
conclusions are unrelated with the question or the premises.

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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