Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Sat Jul 26 04:17:13 UTC 2008

Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> What are your objections to it, if any?
>> It's not clear.  Would that permit a piece of covered code to be
>> included in a CDDL-covered work and vice versa?
> I'm way beyond the point of believing you care or believe my
> understanding of software licenses.  So you tell me, would it?

Your wording is too ambiguous and you associate unusual politics with 
some of those words so I have no idea what you intend.  For the ordinary 
meaning of the terms, CDDL would be a better match than GPL.

>> History shows that much software that is currently freely shared was
>> once developed as proprietary versions
> Was it derived from Free Software in the first place?  Otherwise your
> bringing it up is meaningless for the sake of the argument.

My argument doesn't have much to do with origins.  It is rather that you 
can't predict the destination or eventual result from the origin.  The 
point is that any improvements in the state of the art in software will 
eventually help everyone no matter where they happen first as a rising 
tide floats all boats.  And specifically to the point of this 
discussion, any restrictions on how these improvement can come about, 
even your favorite one of preventing useful new combinations of 
available code, are harmful in their inevitable reduction of the 
quantity and quality of future freely available software.

>>> If anything, the payment for my work should be divided by all
>>> users, so that each of them pays less.
>> Suppose it is a work that requires 10 people to complete.  Will you
>> pay the other 9 up front first, knowing that any of them have the
>> right to redistribute the code before you are paid?
> I don't see how the question relates with what I proposed.  Are we
> talking past each other?

I think so. I am asking how anyone can ever arrange the fair 
distribution of the cost of development of a large new project over a 
very large base of users.  If you believe this is possible, you might 
not have a problem paying your co-workers up front, knowing you had a 
plan to recover the cost.

>> Why would your customer pay for that first copy, knowing no one else
>> has to share the cost?  And you can't charge less than the full amount
> Here's a plan:
> - I charge the first customer, that hired the software development,
>   a fair price for the work I did.

Put yourself on the other side of that fence.  Would you be that first 
customer for something no single person could afford?

> - This customer is entitled to further distribute it or sell it, since
>   it's Free Software.

Yet, the first recipient can also sell it at a lower cost - or give it 
away.  Co-workers on the project can sell or give it away.

> - I help the customer set up a plan to recover some of the investment:
>   I commit to not publishing the software before a certain date,
>   except to customers who join an "early access group", and we invite
>   others to join this group for a fee that shrinks as more customers
>   join.  The fee is split over all previously-joining customers.  None
>   of them are under any obligation to not distribute the software any
>   further.
> - Once they reach a goal number or a date, I make the software
>   available to everyone.

Why? Long before that the early recipients will have made it available. 
There might be exceptions for software that by nature needed a support 
service or for badly written or incomplete works that need continual 
updates or training, but to make the point clear, let's assume that this 
work would be intuitive to use and have no flaws so there is no 
potential revenue beyond an initial sale.

>>> The GPL does respect it, even though it sets forth conditions to stop
>>> you from not respecting others' freedoms.
>> The GPL forces a choice between one kind of restriction or another.
> You're yet to show any evidence of an actual (rather than imagined)
> restriction in the GPL.

I didn't imagine it, I quoted it.  I only wish I had imagined it and 
things like zfs in Linux and Linux drivers in freebsd and OpenSolaris 
were not prohibited by it.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmiksell at gmail.com

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