Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Tue Jul 22 06:34:15 UTC 2008

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

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>>> 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.

I.e., you start out by assuming that there aren't differences between
these movements, and then conclude from this that they're the same.
Sounds like circular logic to me.

> Is there a Pope-of-Software who is the only person with the right to
> make decisions?

This is not about making decisions, this is about history.  It's a
matter of fact, not opinion.

> Why have a discussion if I can't present my own view?

You can.  You're doing just that.  That doesn't make it meaningful or
right.  If you want it to be convincing, you have to show convincing
evidence, not just insist that it's your view and you have every right
to have it and present it.  This won't change anyone's mind.

> The lack of freedom comes when the GPL is involved with any other
> code, a situation you seem to ignore.

The only cases of combinations for which the GPL refrains from
granting permission for distribution are those involving code under
licenses that are less permissive than the GPL, in at least one
aspect.  Why do you insist that the GPL is at fault for that?

>>> 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.

Please look up 'red herring'.  I provided an example that directly
contradicts your claim.  How can you regard that as a distraction?

> I do notice the difference

Good.  Then you acknowledge that the values behind the FS and OSS
movements are different, and that they are often at odds with each

> hence I know that the GPL is the one that most often does not permit

Again, this is a distraction, since the GPL is largely adopted and
promoted by both movements.  It is compatible with a large number of
licenses that are both FS and OSS licenses, and it is incompatible
with several other licenses that are both FS and OSS licenses.

You appear to be working under the common but incorrect assumption
that Free Software license means GPL-compatible license.  I can't see
why you'd obsess about the GPL in an investigation of differences in
values between FS and OSS movements.  Heck, the GPL isn't even the
only copyleft license.  In fact, almost all other copyleft licenses
are incompatible with the GPL, but this doesn't preclude them from
being Free Software licenses, or Open Source licenses.

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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