Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Mon Jul 28 04:24:17 UTC 2008

On Jul 26, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.

Yet somehow they do conflict with the terms of the GPL, intentionally
and by design.  Tell me, how is it possible for them to conflict with
the GPL, and not with this licenselet I proposed?  Where do you see a

> I want to hear your plan for that.  Or any possible plan.

I presented it already.  It's upthread, just 2 round-trips up.

In addition to a lawyer to help you decide which of the two
conflicting interpretations of the GPL you have is the right one,
please go see a doctor for your memory problems :-)

> And it is a direct cause of not having a fully competitive, mostly
> free, alternative to the monopoly product.

And yet somehow the various *BSD variants exist and haven't
accomplished that.  Could this argument possibly hold any less water?

> If I need to be more explicit, just as certain extreme leftist
> political systems eliminate incentives to productivity, copyleft terms
> eliminate incentives to creativity.

I'm a bit surprised you equal GPL to communism, rather than Free
Software to communism like most other FUD-spreaders do.  Next on their
list of 'Free' things to eliminate is 'Free market', 'Free press' and
'Free speech', and let 'Copyrights' trample 'Human rights', for
there's no money in the latter.  See ACTA, Budapest convention, and
the ongoing behind-the-scenes discussions in the international customs
organization and G8.

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

On Jul 24, 2008, *Les* *Mikesell* <lesmikesell at gmail.com> wrote:

> Why would your customer pay for that first copy, knowing no one else
> has to share the cost?

Who made it up, again?

>> 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 if they do, why should I care?  I've already been paid!  It's in
*their* interest to recover those costs now.

> How can you ever ensure, or even encourage a fair distribution of
> the development cost of a large work?

There's no way to ensure it.  You may just as well write software with
an expectation to sell, but that doesn't sell.  You may get fewer
customers that you expected.  Or more.  How would *you* ensure fair
distribution of development costs?

I offered a plan that is compatible with the GPL (and any other Free
Software license, for that matter), and that doesn't disrespect
anyone's freedom in the process, and that ensures I get my payment if
I can find enough initial customers to fund the development work.  If
they don't fund it, I may decide not to do it, or to do it on my own
risk.  Just like any other kind of software development.

It doesn't make much sense to pretend Free Software or even the GPL is
special in this regard, in a world in which less than 1% of the IT
industry income is out of software licensing fees, and more than 40%
is out of services, including software development.

Sure, this does make a difference for those who believe the aberration
of the proprietary license sale model.  That doesn't work for Free
Software, and it won't work for software in general for very long.

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