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Re^2: OSS and the Profit Motive

by dragonchild (Archbishop)
on Mar 04, 2006 at 15:25 UTC ( #534476=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: OSS and the Profit Motive
in thread OSS and the Profit Motive

The intent is to keep the software free as in speech.

This is technically true, but I want to clarify this point using Redhat's distributions as example. Redhat is perfectly allowed to bundle GPL'ed software, write GPL'ed installers, test it all using GPL'ed testing software, then SELL that distribution with a NON-GPL license.

How is this possible? Well, the GPL says that anything directly derived from something that is GPL'ed must also be GPL'ed. The distribution isn't derived from anything GPL'ed ... it's built on top of things that are GPL'ed. That's the difference and it's an important difference. The distribution isn't selling the GPL'ed code, it's selling the organization of said GPL'ed code. In a very real way, it's taking a sysadmin's knowledge of how to put a Linux OS together from scratch and putting it on a CD. That isn't GPL'ed just because a sysadmin uses GPL'ed software.

Here's another item about the viral GPL - just because you use gcc to compile your program doesn't mean it must use the GPL (unless, of course, your program is a modification of gcc). I hope this clarifies things.

My criteria for good software:
  1. Does it work?
  2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?

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