# Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Antonio Olivares olivares14031 at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 22 20:37:51 UTC 2008

> > Just like the Mepis/Zenwalk examples I used previously
> in the
> > thread, they modified the code and released it, yet
> they were not
> > releasing the changes/what they modified back to the
> community.
>
> They didn't have to.  All the GPL required of them that
> they allegedly
> didn't do was to offer those who got their binaries
> from them a chance
> to obtain the corresponding sources.
Someone came out against them, just search Distrowatch.  That they did not fully comply with the GPL?
>
> > They got into some kind of trouble and were forced to
> release the
> > code/make it available
>
> AFAIK, nobody can be forced to do so.  The most a copyright
> holder of
> GPLed sotware can get from a court for the defendant to
> cease
> distribution, so that the infringement stops, plus damages.
>  Releasing
> the code to rectify the harm caused by the infringement can
> be part of
> the negotiation to reduce or even remove the damages.
Someone did/or other opposing distros that did not want those distros to get the attention that they were getting.  The code is available for free from some places, is that a sufficient condition?  Why do people have to tarnish products when they are doing good and those that are not accuse them of violating the GPL?
>
> I don't know of any court who's ever ordered
> someone to release source
> code to satisfy the requirements of a copyright (pure)
> could it?  It migth very well be the case that the
> infringing party
> doesn't even *have* the source code, and can't
> possibly get it.
>
In the instance of Zenwalk, they posted it on their sites with the corresponding sources, for Mepis, you can get the sources provided that you pay and they will be sent to whoever asks for them.
>
> > The restrictions or the viral part of the GPL is what
> bites many
> > people and what turns them against it :(
I do not know enough about it, I just quote what others say.  All I question is why some programs yes and others no, while both are free and open source.
>
> Please don't call it viral.  It isn't viral.  Not
> even close.  That's
> a lie spread by the enemies of the GPL.
I am not an enemy of the GPL, I only question why it tries to restrict things that are not licensed within itself?  It is/was an excellent license, but there are some things that it prohibits, *I do not know which ones*, that forces authors of software to use other licenses in which their work is more protected.
>
> It only applies to derived works, i.e., its freedom is an
> inheritance
> that a GPLed program leaves only its descendants.
>
> > Many authors have changed licenses to others besides
> the GPL,
> > because according to them, it restricts their freedoms
> :(
>
> As long as they still respect others' freedoms,
> that's fine.
> Unfortunate, but fine.
> http://fsfla.org/circular/2007-078#1
>
> > http://www.slax.org/modules.php?author=151
>
> > Not all the modules are GPL, there is one GNU/Grub.  I
> use the
> > source and build it according to rules of creating
> modules for Slax.
> > Is there any chance I can get sued because I created
> those modules?
>
> Of getting sued?  Sure, anyone can sue anyone else for any
> reason :-)
>
> I think the question you wanted to ask is, is it likely
> that such a
> lawsuit would be legitimate and successful, right :-)
Yes, that is more of what I was asking.
>
> I don't have all the facts right now, and I'm not a
> lawyer anyway, so
> I won't comment on the specifics.
>
> In general, if you combine into a single program code under
> some
> specific version of the GPL with code under other licenses,
> you only
> have permission to distribute the result if the other
> compatible with that specific version of the GPL.
>
> For a (not necessarily complete) list of licenses that are
> compatible
> with the GPL, see
>
> If you need help to determine whether some Free Software
> package
> you're working on is in compliance with applicable Free
> Software
> general, the
> FSF offers a service to Free Software developers and users:
> just
> e-mail your question to licensing at fsf.org.
Thanks for posting this, if I ever get into some kind of trouble, I will surely use this.
>
> > Am I violating any GPL rules when I posted those
> modules on the Slax
> > website?  The sources are freely available, the build
> scripts is
> > contained within each module, does that satisfy the
> GPL?
>
> From what you say, you're clearly not in intentional
> infringement, but
> this is not enough to tell whether there is any
> unintentional
> infringement.  The important questions are:
>
> - whether you copied code whose copyright is held by
> someone else, and
> that you don't have permission to sub-license, into
> these packages,
> and whose licensing terms do not permit you (or any other
> person) to
> extend to others the permissions encoded in the GPL, over
> the whole of
> the combined work.
>
In some ways I do have permission to use some of the software, the ones that are GPL for sure.  I should have no problem!.  For the others, the users that demand the source, it is available in the own binary that they download, the instructions are provided as to how the binary is generated and how it is built and how it works.  Several outside projects are mentioned where the source code is found.  I do not see any trouble in doing this, I only question if it is not a GPL offense?
>
> --
Thank you Alexandre for your kindness and taking the time to explain the GPL and other things.  I know that the vast majority of users do not appreciate the agenda that you push, but it is something that you have to push.  How the rest of the list members and the outside Linux and/or GNU/Linux community takes it is a whole different thing!

There are some sites like

http://www.linuxmark.org/

and some quotes from comments section in Distrowatch.com weekly

Take comment 37
\begin{quote}
IMHO, Linux is Linux. GNU is GNU. By calling Linux, "GNU's not unix/Linux is not unix" sounds a bit lame. Besides, let Stallman have his GNU and BSD, his nose doesn't belong in Linux. Again, IMHO.
Yes I know that there are some relations there, but there are some relations between Linux and MSWindows, too, as well as Unix/BSD and MSWindows. But we don't call Linux, "GNU's not unix/Linux is not unix/with Microsoft Windows compatibility (in some instances)."
When my MSWindows machine crashed, I used Linux to recover the data, then wiped MS off of the computer, and put Linux in its' place (was already a dual-boot). The advantage there was that I didn't have to go through the MS activation and software reinstallation merry-go-round. I used a *buntu Linux derivative with KDE. It gets the job done. This Distro vs that Distro should only be used when comparing, not bashing, nor for starting flame-wars. The bashing/wars really get nowhere, as whatever side isn't going to change the minds of the "other" side.
I'm not an expert at all, just an end-user, and like it when something "just works", as I find in Linux.
All of this is, of course, IMHO
\end{quote}
and another one comment 44
<QUOTE>
http://linuxtracker.org/

and even those that use DistroNameGNU/Linux

I think it is rather superfluous to use the term(s), don't we all know what it is !
Even those Newbies very very quickly learn what it is !

At the LinuxTracker I often remove all the superfluous crap from long names.
like: MyWonderfulSuperDuperDistro-X.X.X-GNU/Linux

It is not like many people are going to mistake Distro names for MS-Windows
For me and many others it is enough to just have simple descriptive names like:
Slackwere-xxx or Debian-xxx or SuSE-xxx or Mandriva-xxx or Ubutu-xxx etc.
</QUOTE>

Comment 60 is in your favor Alexandre though
/* quote
Regarding Gnu/Linux, I believe that most of the software that lies immediately above the kernel is Gnu. Without the Gnu part we would not have an OS. It's fine to call the Gnu software applications but, as most of you already know, they are significantly different than your desktop applications. So let's not refer to them as applications as if they are just a bunch of applications for which there are plenty of alternatives like a web browser or a word processor.

These are the applications that organize the file systems, read and write to media, compile, display text, assign user permissions, create and maintain a network connection, etc. While the Gnu portion is only 28%, as some people have pointed out, the same source indicates that Linux is only 3% or less.

If we think of GNU as not just the OS but as the license, then even the kernel is GNU and so are a lot of high level applications that we use on the desktop. That could very well mean that over 50% of your average "linux" install is GNU.

RSM is obviously fighting an uphill, and probably losing, battle. We mostly refer to it as simply Linux. I think, however, that he is being generous in suggesting GNU/Linux. He could easily and with obvious justification be advocating for simply GNU. So rather than slagging RSM for being too radical I think he is making a great effort to be diplomatic and inclusive.
quote */

The people should decide in the end what they want to call it, is that fair?

Regards,

Antonio