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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Les Mikesell wrote:
> Andrew Haley wrote:
>> >
>>>> He had an unfree program (the wattcp library) and GNU tar and
>>>> discovered that he wasn't allowed to ship a program that linked
>>>> these two together.  He then said, gloriously, "please don't try
>>>> to say the problem was cause by those other licenses -
>>>> they did not prevent anyone else from getting copies..."  :-)
>>>> OK Les, I promise not to say it.  However...
>>> I'm not sure what you are trying to imply here.  I could redistribute
>>> copies of the other two components - but that's irrelevant since anyone
>>> could get them in source anyway (they were only unfree in the reverse
>>> way that the GPL redefines free to mean restricted).
>> Err, one library according to you, was unfree in the sense that you
>> weren't
>> allowed to change it in any way; to enhance it, or to fix bugs.
> That's not an accurate description, although it did have a restriction
> on distributing modified versions.  I could, of course, change my own
> copy and submit bug fixes and enhancements to the author for
> incorporation - or make the source modifications available separately
> from the package.  The restriction was more about preventing broken
> versions from being distributed than enhancements.

Sure, but it had that effect, didn't it?  If you're not allowed to
distribute modified versions without someone else's consent, it's not free
(as in freedom) software.

>>> I could have
>>> redistributed the combination if I had started with the original pdtar
>>> instead of gnutar.
>> You could, but if what you said was true, you still wouldn't be able to
>> fix bugs in one of the libraries.  And if, to you, free software is that
>> which is free (as in beer) but you aren't allowed to fix bugs, then
>> you're welcome to it.
> The best way to fix bugs is to get the fix incorporated in the base
> package so it can be properly tested, merged with other fixes, and
> provided to everyone using it.  Otherwise you can s/fix/add/ in your
> description of what you want to be permitted to do followed by
> distributing them in a package someone else tries to support.  How many
> broken TCP stacks do we really want on our networks where someone thinks
> cranking the retry timer gives it an advantage?  There is the argument
> that if the author/maintainer stops updating, the package can die.

Quite.  And, indeed, that's the inevitable consequence.


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