On Tue, Mar 14, 2000 at 09:59:26AM +0000, kevin lyda wrote:
> redhat, slackware, and mandrake are all gpl'd distributions with nearly
> 100% of their distributions being free software. iirc, redhat linux
> sells for $70.
Im sure some companies have packages for Linux that come with support options like the more 'conventional' OS's.
> star office and internet explorer are non-free - you can't see the
> source. they're free (as in price, not freedom).
Well you can buy star office as well if you want!
SUN iirc are meant to be releasing the source under the SCSL, which isnt an 'open-source' licence.
However I dont think a major company can seriously be expected to turn everything to be GPL overnight, and furthermore I dont think they should have to. From some of the pro-SCSL things Ive heard the advantages are:
* to a business person they can give out the source code and hope that people will help develop it. sounds FSF so far.
* it puts in legal terms what is only convention in free licences. i.e. the right to fork. Forking code can be a bad thing and to have someone take all your work and make a few changes and sell their own version of it is bad for business, therefore it seems to make sence in a way to protect your code from being forked by enforcing that all changes must go through you.
* GNU/Linux was written from scratch and alwways was under the GPL, thats how it developed. This is different from taking a working product like solaris and opening it to the extent where it can be forked/stolen/give revenue to someone else.
I know these arguments can be cut through from a FSF angle, but they do make sence in business. Big companies are not going to make straight changes to GPL'ing stuff they have put years of work into, but licences like the SCSL are getting there, and perhaps as companies start developing things from scratch they will adopt licences more in line with the GPL ones (as SUN for example _may_ be doing with Forte for Java).
Slating, the SCSL dosent help the FSF cause. I think companies making steps along the free (as in speach) software route should be encouraged, even SUN :)
> many free software developers get paid. in addition there are places
> like source exchange and some others that are attempting to provide new
> ways to get money to developers.
Some companies will allow you to work on free software projects on their time using their resources too, provided you dont take up too much of their time! Its an interesting question to ask in an interview too :)
Al (giving his 2p on the SCSL again!)
Head Sysadmin, UCD Internet society - www.netsoc.ucd.ie
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