Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Mon Jul 28 05:44:03 UTC 2008

Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>> 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.

It is the GPL that was designed to conflict with others, including the 
original BSD.

> 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
> difference?

Your wording is about providing rights.  The GPL wording is about 
restricting all derivatives to only exactly its own terms.

>> I want to hear your plan for that.  Or any possible plan.
> I presented it already.  It's upthread, just 2 round-trips up.

If you mean where you said one customer would pay for it all, that's not 
a plan, it's a fairy tale.

> 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 :-)

I think you are the one who forgot I wanted the plan for something that 
a single customer could not afford.  Or something that would require you 
to have a team of programmers to complete.

>> 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?

OS X is derived from BSD work, and is an excellent example of what can 
be accomplished.  But Apple can get by with a somewhat limited driver 
set and they aren't really in the OS business.   While BSD was fighting 
the legal battle that made free unix-like systems possible, Linux stole 
most of the development work, trapping the contributions with 
GPL-restrictions and making them unusable for anything else.  So now the 
widest base of drivers is trapped by those restrictions.

>> 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.

FUD-spreaders see free software as competition.  I'm not a FUD-spreader 
or a software distributer.  I want more and better software as a user 
and potential customer - and I want it to be available to everyone else 
as well. Available and affordable software is a much more significant 
goal than free software.  The GPL restrictions prevent many ways that 
existing software could be improved.

> 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.

I don't care what is on anyone else's list. I want to see free software 
in use instead of losing an all-or-nothing battle as it has continued to 
do for decades.

>> 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 you believe the GPL leaves some business plan possible to fund the 
creation of a large new work, please explain it.

>>> 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.

Not gonna happen.

> 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.

No, you made up an imaginary customer that would do something 
irrational.  And it is nothing like ordinary software development where 
you can target a price that large numbers of customers can/will pay.

> 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.

There is no  similarity at all.  Most complex software would not exist 
without a workable plan to recover development costs.  There are a few 
notable exceptions to this in the free software world but they aren't 

> 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.

I don't think we are even close to the end of complex innovations in 
software that don't fit the free model very well.  I expect more decades 
of niche use of GPL-restricted code.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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