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View Full Version : Doesent linux desktops have to have a free version?



jincast90
November 26th, 2006, 11:30 AM
Doesent linux desktops have to have a free version? If yes, why can't you download Linspire and Xandros for free?

MaximB
November 26th, 2006, 11:51 AM
good question
the same goes to Suse and Redhat
they are allowed to "sell" their support, but why they are allowed to sell their distro's ? (and not give them for free , and I'm not talking about their free versions).
isn't GNU/Linux GPLed ?

Sluipvoet
November 26th, 2006, 11:54 AM
I don't know, but I think it's same situation as the Firefox/Debian-tradmark dispute.
Everything except the logo/name is free.
eg. You can download "RedHat" for free, only the Redhat-logo/name will be replaced by something else( http://www.centos.org/ )

+Xandros and Linspire contain non-free software.

Old Pink
November 26th, 2006, 11:55 AM
isn't GNU/Linux GPLed ?

Yes, the Linux Kernel is, but they're not charging for that, that's available at kernel.org for free.

What they're charging for is the work they've put into compiling the rest of the software. Yes, alot of the software included is GPL but they can simply say that's not what they're charging for, and they get away with it, quite rightfully, I think.

Alot of developers put alot of work into SUSE, it's only right they get something back, really. Poor ubuntu developers don't get much outside donations from the end user's pockets. :)

PilotJLR
November 26th, 2006, 12:21 PM
People often think GPL and free are the same thing in a financial sense, but they aren't...
GPL'd components must have their source available for review and modification.

Red Hat, and other commercial vendors, have done that... what you can't get for free is pre-compiled binaries and support. Compiling an entire OS is not a simple task (which is where CentOS comes in).

For any real business or enterprise customer, support is a requirement, which is why commercial versions exist.

mushroom
November 26th, 2006, 12:35 PM
Yes, you can sell GPL software. In fact, the FSF encourages it (http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/selling.html).

MedivhX
November 26th, 2006, 12:45 PM
Strange... I thought it's immoral...

Sluipvoet
November 26th, 2006, 12:51 PM
Yes, you can sell GPL software. In fact, the FSF encourages it (http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/selling.html).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't
"Freedom 2: The freedom to copy the program so you can help your neighbor." makes this nearly pointless in the age of broadband internet.

argie
November 26th, 2006, 01:45 PM
Yes, the Linux Kernel is, but they're not charging for that, that's available at kernel.org for free.

What they're charging for is the work they've put into compiling the rest of the software. Yes, alot of the software included is GPL but they can simply say that's not what they're charging for, and they get away with it, quite rightfully, I think.

Alot of developers put alot of work into SUSE, it's only right they get something back, really. Poor ubuntu developers don't get much outside donations from the end user's pockets. :)
You can charge for GPL software.

InsomniacUK
November 26th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Doesent linux desktops have to have a free version? If yes, why can't you download Linspire and Xandros for free?

They don't have to offer a free version, but they do have to provide the source code for all open-source software used in the project. So, in theory, you could compile a free version from source. You wouldn't get any of the closed-source drivers though.

Linspire does sponsor a free version though, called Freespire, if you're interested. Xandros offer an "open circulation edition" of their desktop Linux too.

Freespire: http://freespire.org/
Xandros Open Circulation Edition: http://www.xandros.com/products/home/desktopoc/dsk_oc_intro.html

mthakur2006
November 26th, 2006, 03:59 PM
Linspire contains non-free software (like codecs etc.) so it costs money but there is a free version called Freespire available :D:KS

mcduck
November 26th, 2006, 04:01 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't
"Freedom 2: The freedom to copy the program so you can help your neighbor." makes this nearly pointless in the age of broadband internet.

As funny as it sounds, many companies and even desktop users feel that they need to pay for software and believe that higher price always means better quality. Selling free software isn't actually that stupid idea..

And if you feel it's immoral, you can always use some of the money to support developers and projects.

az
November 26th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Doesent linux desktops have to have a free version?

No. If you obtain GPLed software, improve it and then re-release it, you are obliged to provide the source code under the same licence as you got it. But that does not mean that you have to give away free copies of the precompiled binaries.

Making money from selling or supporting software is not immoral.

What is immoral is claiming that a particular application belongs to you and preventing others from using those ideas as a building block upon which they can improve - software is more like an idea than an invention.

It is immoral to sue somebody because they had the same idea as you.

ezsit
November 26th, 2006, 09:54 PM
They don't have to offer a free version, but they do have to provide the source code for all open-source software used in the project.

The GPL only requires that the source code be made available to those that receive the binaries. If a company sells the binaries, they must provide the sorce code to the buyer. The buyer has no obligation to share the source code with anyone else and the company that sells the binaries has no obligation to make the source code available generally.

Companies such as RedHat are to be commended for making their software source code available to the general public, but there is nothing saying that Redhat could deny the source code to all but buyers of their product. Opensource zealots would be horrified, but a company has every right to restrict access to their source code to all but their clients.

MaximB
November 27th, 2006, 12:08 AM
As funny as it sounds, many companies and even desktop users feel that they need to pay for software and believe that higher price always means better quality.

I'm sure you haven't thought about that...but think M$ windows ;)

BWF89
November 27th, 2006, 12:19 AM
Xandros Open Circulation Edition: http://www.xandros.com/products/home/desktopoc/dsk_oc_intro.html
I might check that out. Do you know if Xandros has a website that lists the software available in it's repositories and how up to date it is?

darkhatter
November 27th, 2006, 12:43 AM
a lot of people on this forum (and other places) have connected free and GPL together. The only thing you need to do is provide source and that is what everyone has done, I can take the ubuntu code remove the logo and sell it. I think everyone has posted the same thing over and over again, its kind of funny :D

IYY
November 27th, 2006, 06:27 AM
Remember that Richard Stallman himself made a lot of money by selling the first program of the GNU project, the text editor Emacs.

deanlinkous
November 28th, 2006, 12:09 AM
Strange that the only "free" people can associate with is "no cost"? Think more along the lines of setting a animal free! :)

You can charge for GPL covered software, you can even charge for the source code but you cannot make it non-free! :)

IF the source is included with the binary then the source code requirement is met. If the source is not included, and instead the written offer is included then that can be passed along and would mean *practically* anyone could request the source and receive it.