Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Tue Jul 22 07:10:51 UTC 2008

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.

I know there are differences: OSS exists to counter the harm that GPL 
fanatics cause.  However that doesn't eliminate the situation that some 
useful software is covered by the GPL and still usable in some 
situations.  So that doesn't mean I need to choose only one side or the 

>> 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?

Because the work-as-a-whole provision was obviously added specifically 
to cause this denial of freedom.  The other OSS licenses have no such 
clause.  For example, zfs will go from OpenSolaris to freebsd, and OS X, 
demonstrating actual freedom.

>>>> 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?

There are any number of ways to do things wrong.  Yes, you posted one of 
them.  You can make mistakes with free software at least as easily as 
proprietary versions.  It doesn't relate to any point.

>> 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
> other?

Yes.  That has nothing to do with what I want or what I think most of 
the world wants.  You might notice that the vast majority of software in 
use today is neither GPL'd nor OSS, so how can you claim that either has 
done a particularly good job the last few decades or insist that I join 
one or the other movement?

>> 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.

No, its not a distraction. Its restrictions are one of the reasons such 
a small percentage of software in use is FOSS.

   Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at gmail.com

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