Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Thomas Cameron thomas.cameron at camerontech.com
Tue Jul 22 03:23:09 UTC 2008

On Mon, 2008-07-21 at 04:35 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> 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.

That is complete and utter CRAP.

http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd clearly contradicts that.

>From http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html:

Freedom 0 is the freedom to run the program, for any purpose.

Freedom 1 is the freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to
your needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Freedom 2 is the freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your

Freedom 3 is the freedom to improve the program, and release your
improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access
to the source code is a precondition for this.

Those same freedoms are protected by opensource.org's requirements.
While there is not a one-to-one mapping, FSF's freedom 0 is covered by
OSI's rules 1, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.  FSF's freedom 1 is covered by OSI's
rules 2, 3 and 4.  FSF's freedom 2 is covered by OSI's rules 2,3 and 4.
FSF'd freedom 3 is covered by at least OSI's rule 3.

Don't take my word for it, read it yourself:

1. Free Redistribution
The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the
software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing
programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a
royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. Source Code
The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in
source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is
not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means
of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction
cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source
code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the
program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed.
Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator
are not allowed.

3. Derived Works
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow
them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the
original software.

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified
form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with
the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time.
The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from
modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a
different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a
specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program
from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

7. Distribution of License
The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program
is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license
by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's
being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is
extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the
terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is
redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in
conjunction with the original software distribution.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
The license must not place restrictions on other software that is
distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license
must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium
must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual
technology or style of interface.

Open Source software as defined opensource.org clearly also meets the
requirements of the four freedoms that the FSF espouses.

I swear, this reminds me of the Sunni and the Shi'a or the Catholics and
the Protestants.  Each pair believes in fundamentally the same thing but
the extremists in each group is convinced the other is damned and should
be fought.  It's ludicrous.  It is damaging, and it's


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