Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?
lesmikesell at gmail.com
Sun Jul 20 20:34:08 UTC 2008
Gordon Messmer wrote:
>>> Or... Microsoft would have used that code and used it to control
>>> people in just the same way it does with every other piece of software
>>> it touches.
>> The only software that they can use to control anyone is their OS, and
>> they can only do that as long as no one ships something competitive
>> enough to attract application development. That hasn't happened,
>> largely because of GPL restrictions on code that might otherwise have
>> been used in such products.
>> Anyway it is the GPL that has kept them rich and in control.
> You've got to be trolling me.
> I can't remember when I've ever heard a statement about the GPL or
> Microsoft that was so far removed from reality. There are numerous
> alternatives to Microsoft which aren't licensed under the GPL: OS X and
> FreeBSD being two examples under very different licenses.
OS X is a great example of how a competitive product can be build on top
of well-tested freely available code. But Apple isn't really interested
in competing in the OS space - they want to sell hardware. And they
have the deep pockets to deal with some difficulty along the way.
> You seem to be asserting that if we all used the BSD license, or
> something else that doesn't require distribution of software to include
> source code and redistribution rights, then *someone* (or everyone)
> would have taken the Free Software that's available and ... done
> something ... that challenged Microsoft, reduced their market share, and
> created a competitive system. If you believe that, then explain how
> that hasn't happened, despite high-quality systems available from
> FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and the like?
It has happened with the freebsd components going into OS X and the mac
market share currently at 8% and rising (mac shipments grew 9 times
faster than the overall US PC market).
But it is too little, too late, and has none of the advantages that you
might attribute to Linux vs. BSD. If this were not prevented in the
GNU/Linux base, there would likely be many competitors that did not tie
their OS products to specific hardware.
> The truth of the matter is that GNU/Linux is dominant among Free
> Software unix-like platforms *because* of the license, not in spite of
If you mean because of the viral nature of the GPL that people who use
it at all are forced to use that license for their bug fixes, then you
might be right, but free software is a tiny, nearly irrelevant percent
of what is actually used.
> People contribute to GPL licensed products because the license
> protects their investment. If they put money into improving a GPL
> licensed product and attempt to make a living from that, they know that
> someone else won't reduce the value of their investment by selling a
> proprietary derivative that offers features that they can not.
Yes, as an anti-competitive measure to keep better versions from
existing, the GPL works. And some contributions may be motivated by
that. But that has nothing to do with freedom or making the world a
> When we
> improve a GPL product, we benefit from that, and so does everyone else
> who uses the product.
And the 98% of the world that doesn't use GPL products doesn't.
> If we allow proprietary derivatives, we reduce
> the incentive to invest in Free Software. When someone builds a
> proprietary derivative, they're not investing in Free Software, they're
> investing in their proprietary product.
That's clearly not true. Just look at all the counterexamples like
apache, X, or my favorite, TCP/IP. When someone builds a proprietary
derivative it takes nothing away from the original and adds compatible,
choices. The more code is reused, the better for everyone regardless of
the circumstances of any particular branch.
lesmikesell at gmail.com
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