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Re: LWN headline: Blame Fedora = High Praise



On Tue, 2007-05-01 at 08:21 -0500, Rex Dieter wrote:
> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> 
> >> Atleast in Fedora the division is clearly documented in the
> >> packaging guidelines.
> > 
> > Which is and has always been incompatible with the stated goals of the
> > Fedora project.
> 
> It may be worth pointing out here that Fedora currently only includes 
> objectives/packaging-guidelines to be opensource/redistributable, not 
> necessarily (100%) free,

This sentence of yours doesn't match with current practices:

From
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Packaging/Guidelines?packaging#head-8be956fd12dbe4ae927e65c989e7e83b9fcc0b80

--- snip ---
The goal of The Fedora Project is to work with the Linux community to
build a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from open
source software. In accordance with that, all packages included in
Fedora must be covered under an open source license. 

We clarify an open source license in three ways: 

      * OSI-approved license. You can find the list of OSI approved
        licenses here: http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ 
        
      * GPL-Compatible, Free Software Licenses. You can find the list
        here:
        http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses 
        
      * GPL-Incompatible, Free Software Licenses. You can find the list
        here:
        http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html#GPLIncompatibleLicenses 
        

If the license of a package isn't covered in one of those lists, urge
the upstream maintainer to seek OSI-approval for their license here:
http://www.opensource.org/docs/certification_mark.php#approval
--- snip ---


I.e. the Fedora definition of "OpenSource" is being redirected to "OSI"
and the GPL.

>From http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd
--- snip ---
3. Derived Works
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow
them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the
original software.
--- snip ---

=> The firmware packages do not fall under this definition.


>  and wrt *this* conversation, the Board 
> considered firmware to be an acceptable exception(1).

This doesn't match with the Fedora definition of "OpenSource" listed
above, and leave room for accusations to "FPB cheating to the community
on the freedom of SW in Fedora" and/or "the FPB having dumped
objectives".

Given your rationale, I think the FPC should abandon tying contributed
packages to the OSI and GPL to return to "applying the same rights on
everyone".

> (1) redistributability was considered good enough (for now), notably 
> because firmware is tied to hardware, and doesn't run on the host cpu.

This rationale suffers from same defects as inclusion of other
non-modifiable SW: You can't fix bugs nor modify it to adapt it to
special demands, because you can't modify the SW being shipped.

Wrt. firmware, it is even worse: Technically, the position of firmware
is not unlike using "close source kernel modules". If a firmware bugs
kills the kernel, the kernel devs will not be able to do much about it
(They or an educated user can have a look into the firmware's sources
and might even be able to fix it, but nobody inside of Fedora be able to
ship a fixed package).

Ralf



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