Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Tue Jul 22 02:47:38 UTC 2008

Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>>>> This is fundamentally contradictory.  If you have to choose between
>>>>> these two, you're choosing between promoting either FS or OSS. 
>> the GPL is the well-known instance.
> The GPL meets both the FS and the OSS definition.

The GPL can only meet it under very limited circumstances.  It does not 
provide the freedom to redistribute covered works improved by adding 
code under different terms.

> Again, bringing it
> into this argument would be a red herring even if you refrained from
> your proven-wrong and now proven-to-confuse-yourself misunderstanding
> that the GPL imposes restrictions.

There is no confusion beyond the lack of a specific definition of a 
work-as-a-whole.  But however that is defined, it does not provide such 
freedom, and the lack of such freedom is harmful.

>>> How about you step back and analyze what you mean by "promoting FOSS",
>>> like I have?
>> For me it means using/reusing/improving freely-available, well-tested
>> code in all possible situations.
> And where did you get this idea that this is what Free (and|or) Open
> Source Software are about?

That's what I say it is about.  Is there a Pope-of-Software who is the 
only person with the right to make decisions?  Why have a discussion if 
I can't present my own view?

> You can believe it is valid, it just so happens to be irrelevant to
> this debate about the differences between the FS and the OSS
> movements, because GPL is accepted and promoted by both.

The lack of freedom comes when the GPL is involved with any other code, 
a situation you seem to ignore.  A near-infinite number of possibilities 
are not permitted.

> Permitting them under certain conditions and requirements is what all
> the tens (hundreds?) of licenses that meet definitions is all about.

And the GPL fails to permit under many conditions, denying your freedoms.

>> It is only difficult to escape when equal/better choices don't
>> exist.
> 'fraid you've never tried to move to a superior Free Software
> platform, away from an application that uses a proprietary format,
> that nobody else supports and yet you've stored years of data in it,

Red Herring.  It's not necessary to do that.

>> Yes, of course I use my own values.
> If you're incapable of or unwilling to put yourself in a position of
> understanding other values, as necessary to answer a question such as
> "do you notice the difference between these two movements?", there's
> no point in my wasting time with that.

I do notice the difference, hence I know that the GPL is the one that 
most often does not permit freedom compared to any other set of 

>>> IOW, it's circular logic, and the
>>> conclusions are unrelated with the question or the premises.
>> There's plenty of evidence for the choices that a non-restrictive code
>> base like the original TCP/IP implementation can produce, but no
>> equivalent for GPL restrictions.
> IOW, while pretending to answer one point, you're not even making an
> effort to understand that point, but rather trying to go back to an
> apparent fixation on an unrelated point.

The point is not unrelated.  The point is that the GPL does not provide 
freedom even in the simple circumstance of including a bit of covered 
code along with many other things that are OSS.  And the things that it 
prevents by not also providing the freedom to be included with 
proprietary works might have been as useful to everyone as TCP/IP.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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