Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Sat Jul 26 19:08:17 UTC 2008

Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> Your wording is too ambiguous and you associate unusual politics with
>> some of those words so I have no idea what you intend.
> Tell me which words, and I'll point out they're present in the GPL as
> well, and you don't seem to have any trouble (mis)interpreting it.

Yes, of course the GPL misrepresents words to make restrictions sound 
like freedom.  That's the reason it exists. But the CDDL, MPL, etc., do 
nothing to conflict with the terms you specify.

>>> - 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?
> If I need it badly enough, sure?  If I believe I can recover a fair
> portion of those costs, sure?

I want to hear your plan for that.  Or any possible plan.  My contention 
is that the GPL terms make any such plan infeasible, if not impossible, 
and thus eliminates most of the usual incentives for creativity and 
innovation.  And it is a direct cause of not having a fully competitive, 
mostly free, alternative to the monopoly product.  If I need to be more 
explicit, just as certain extreme leftist political systems eliminate 
incentives to productivity, copyleft terms eliminate incentives to 

>>> - 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.
> Why should I care?  Remember, I've already been paid by my work.  If
> they do, good for them!

No, in my scenario, you are the one doing the funding.  Not some 
imaginary first customer that you make up.

>> Why? Long before that the early recipients will have made it
>> available.
> If they do, per your argument, they'd be losing the ability to recover
> part of their costs.  Why would they?

Because they can. And because their first customer can.  How can you 
ever ensure, or even encourage a fair distribution of the development 
cost of a large work?

>> 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.
> Because in some strange world, that's how the majority of software is?

Much free software is incomplete and lacking in documentation (because 
there's no particular reason for it to be complete or well 
documented...), but that doesn't have to be the case.  Some products 
'just work' and continue to work for at least the life of the machine 
where they were installed. When discussing incentives to produce new 
innovations, I'd prefer to talk about that latter kind that is better 
for everyone.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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