Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Thu Jul 24 01:30:24 UTC 2008

On Jul 23, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>> Your freedom to distribute the improvement is respected
>> by the GPL, but not by the combination of the licenses you accepted.

> Why do you consider that acceptable?

It's undesirable, indeed, but what's to stop people from inventing
intentionally-incompatible licenses or accepting them?

The GNU GPL was the first copyleft license.  It was incompatible with
other licenses that preceded it because they did not grant the rights
the GPL was intended to grant, and it was not deemed appropriate to
give up those rights for the sake of compatibility with them.  Can't
really fault the GPL for that, can you?

Other copyleft and non-copyleft licenses followed that were designed
specifically to be incompatible with the GPL, to prevent code sharing.
Can't fault the GPL for that, can you?  If you think that's
unacceptable, why did you accept the less permissive or artificially
incompatible license that got you into this situation?  If you
accepted them, you think that's acceptable.  If you don't want to
accept them, talk the copyright holders into changing their minds and
permit you to respect others' freedoms while not granting them the
power to not respect third parties' freedoms.

Anyhow, where does this leave you?  Does "barking up the wrong tree"
mean anything to you?

> That is, why do you believe is it right for one license to have any
> affect on the terms of another?

Moo.  Does "when did you stop beating your wife?" mean anything to
you? :-)

I don't believe that is right, and the GPL doesn't do any such thing.
This license you invented that you call GPL and spend your life
complaining about might do that, but then, that's between you and your

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}

More information about the fedora-list mailing list