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Re: Fedora Basic End User Rollout Support Operation

On Sat, Jan 02, 2010 at 18:12:03 -0600,
  "Robert E. Martin, VCM Network" <Robert vcmnetwork com> wrote:
> I am somewhat confused.  I thought that as an open sourced OS, it was a free
> license, which included the applications in the repositories.  What am I
> missing?

Some things are supported by free software but are covered by patents. So
while this software can be used in some places, it can not in others. In
particular the US currently recognizes software patents. Fedora does not
include software that is know to be covered by software patents where there
isn't a license to allow for free (in cost) use. This mostly impacts audio
and video codecs. The RPM Fusion repo provides software for a number of
important codec, but you aren't allowed to use the software in the US without
a license agreement from the patent holder. There are ways to get software
that comes with such a license, but you need to get it from someplace other
than Fedora. In contrast Ubuntu has deals where it can distribute some software
which supports codecs covered by patents that Fedora can't. If the tasks you
plan to do include playing audio or video that uses nonfree codecs, that would
make Ubuntu more attractive to you.

Another case is software that is banned in the US. For example if you want to
play standard DVDs, you need to be able to decyrpt them. The encryption in
combination with the DMCA provide a way for a cartel of movie producers to
control the features of DVD players. (For example to prevent people from making
backup copies in order to force people to re-buy movies at full price rather
than for the cost of media. Or to prevent people from format shifting to force
people to re-buy movies for each device (for example iPODs) they own. Because
unsanctioned DVD players that decrypt normal DVDs are considered circumvention
devices, they are illegal to use or distribute in the US.

If you stick to the normal Fedora repositories (NOT RPM Fusion or Livna) you
will be OK license-wise, but may not have some functionallity you need. (In
which case you will need to get that functionallity from outside of Fedora.)

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