[24hoursupport] Re: history-web bug?

  • From: Fuzzy Logic <fuzzman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 24hoursupport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 13:46:16 -0400 (EDT)


On Tue, 6 May 2003, Douglas O. wrote:

> The free that the GPL refers to does not mean no money though ultimately
> that's what the result is.

Sometimes, that is what it means.  More and more, companies are finding
that OSS projects are worth MONEY and a good amount of it.  IBM, for
example, sells mainframe boxes by allowing people to order them with Linux

> The free is more related to freedom. No one
> may claim ownership and thus restrict the transfer and development of
> free software. The GPL, I think, says that if you use GPLed code in a
> program that you write, you may not then claim ownership of the program
> but must keep it open/free for others to tinker with. Fuzzy, you
> probably know more about this.

You are almost 100% correct about the GPL.  Once code is released under the 
GPL, anyone attempting to share it MUST share the original as well as releasing
your work under the GPL.  The special case is where you modify a GPLed program,
but you don't release it to anyone.  In that case, it is still GPLed, but you
don't have to release anything.

> > So, SuSE is quite within their rights to charge for making you a copy.
> As are companies like CheapBytes and other resellers.

Exactly.  A lot of people miss that subtle distintion in the meaning of free.

> > Working with a company where part of my job is working on proprietary
> > cryptographic code, and the other part is working on an open-sourced Linux
> > device driver for the same cryptographic device, I have to say that the
> > line between the two has to be kept very clear, and from that, I wanted to
> > note that while the Linux kernel IS GPLed, work utilizing it (such as
> > OpenOffice) is not necessarily.
> But OpenOffice IS GPLed and LGPLed. It has nothing to do with the
> Linux kernel. It runs on GNU Linux, Windows, Mac, and others. It
> can be downloaded for free like other open source stuff.

Bad typo in my original message.  I meant StarOffice, which is Sun's baby, and
that is not GPLed.  Another example is Netscape vs Mozilla.  They work from
similar codebases, but one is GPL and the other isn't.

> The only distro I believe that tries to completely comply with
> the open source philosophy (whether or not they're successful) is
> Debian. Also, more trivia: Linux is perhaps more correctly called
> GNU Linux. The operating system is GNU with Linux as its kernel.
> Richard Stallman was at he head of GNU, while Linus Torvalds was
> at the head of Linux.

A subtle distinction and one that most developers tend to ignore since Linux
is still not 100% GNU for all the fanfare that GNU pushes with regard to that.

> > So, to answer your last question: there is not, and cannot, be a
> > closed-source version of the Linux kernel as that would violate the GPL.
> And Richard Stallman being force behind the Free Software
> Foundation insists that GNU remain free open source.

Yep.  Open source software is here to stay, and slowly, large corporations
are getting the message.

> All interesting stuff. -- d


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