Draft Product Description for Fedora Workstation

Kevin Kofler kevin.kofler at chello.at
Mon Nov 4 21:49:28 UTC 2013

Stephen Gallagher wrote:
> Sure, we probably would end up reducing the number of applications
> available in the standard yum repos. I'm not as convinced as you are
> that this is a bad thing. Right now, there's really no distinction
> between what constitutes the operating system and what constitutes the
> application ecosystem.
> Given how complex and difficult navigating our packaging process is,
> I'd be astonished if this didn't result in a large net gain for the
> application ecosystem. Giving users access to the software they want
> is the goal of an operating system. It's wonderful if we can
> accomplish this with 100% technical purity, but unfortunately we live
> in an imperfect universe where "perfect" is often the enemy of "good
> enough".

But the net result for the user would be:
* no more centralized updates – instead, either there are no automatic
  updates at all (most likely), or the software would have to poll every
  single software source for updates (slooooow),
* much more wasted disk space, due to bundling instead of dependency
* no more centralized security fixes for libraries (outside of the arbitrary
  "core set").
Thus, an overall negative.

> This just doesn't make sense at all. I highly doubt you could find
> within 24 hours three upstream projects that made the choice to
> license their code under a FOSS license for the sole reason that it
> would be carried by Fedora or Debian (exempting of course any project
> originating within Red Hat, Canonical or the other distribution sponsors).

Ask spot, he will certainly be able to name you many more than 3 such 

There were some high-profile examples of code getting relicensed due to 
distro pressure, e.g. the OpenGL-related code covered by the SGI Free 
Software License B (covered by a rewrite of the license thanks to the 
upgrade clause the original license had). Sun Microsystems (before being 
bought out by Oracle) has also relicensed more than one piece of software 
under our pressure (which often required a lot of nagging).

> Inclusion in the respository may be a goal for packages that are
> already FOSS, but no one decides on a FOSS license just to be part of
> Fedora.

I'm not even sure about that, but you also forget the many almost-free ones 
out there, who only removed the offending license terms due to pressure from 
Fedora and/or Debian.

> So if there was a FOSS project out there that was only available at
> cost on an app store, I can pretty much guarantee that someone else
> would just show up and repackage the source as the free version.

But see the previous point, the payware would NOT be FOSS, it'd be released 
under some restrictive license which does not allow you to redistribute it. 
So you wouldn't just be forced to pay, but also be deprived of your freedoms 
in the process.

        Kevin Kofler

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