Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Letters page.
Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
May 16, 2002
From: Ronald Cole <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Subsidizing the development of non-free software Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 14:15:10 -0700 email@example.com (David Moles) writes: > Let me put the question another way: Is it acceptable for private > interests to take free software developed with the public's money > and make it into software that is not available to the public? If it's licensed under the GPL, then the answer is *yes*! I am free to take GPL's software, make enhancements and sell it. Can you get a copy if you want one? Only if you pay my exorbitant fee (the GPL doesn't require me to distribute to just anyone who asks). Bonus for me if I sell binary-only with the written offer for sources and the three years (the minimum) that the GPL requires me to make them available passes without anyone taking me up on that offer! Essentially, I will have taken GPL'd code and made proprietary enhancements for which I won't have had to distribute the source (and it's not entirely clear to me whether the GPL forbids the binary-only recipients from further redistribution if they don't have the source, but I would think so). Stallman writes in his GNU Manifesto: "GNU is not in the public domain. Everyone will be permitted to modify and redistribute GNU, but no distributor will be allowed to restrict its further redistribution. That is to say, proprietary modifications will not be allowed. I want to make sure that all versions of GNU remain free." However, Stallman's aims in his Manifesto don't seem to be embodied in the GPL. "Free Software" seems to require altruism and vigilance in order to succeed thus far and the GPL only requires that, if you can manage to get your hands on some GPL'd software, then you can get the sources if you want them, and it seems to allow non-public enhancements to be created. -- Forte International, P.O. Box 1412, Ridgecrest, CA 93556-1412 Ronald Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> Phone: (760) 499-9142 President, CEO Fax: (760) 499-9152 My GPG fingerprint: C3AF 4BE9 BEA6 F1C2 B084 4A88 8851 E6C8 69E3 B00B
From: Bernhard Bablok <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: TCO Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 10:34:51 +0200 Hi, one additional point to the TCO discussion. Microsoft with its release policy forces companies to upgrade to XP: without support for NT, companies will have to migrate solely because you cannot buy computers running NT anymore (NT does not support USB, and PS/2 and serial ports tend to be removed). A migration of 20000+ PCs will take more than a year and costs quite a lot. Now consider that support for XP will stop 06/2004. So every two years your will spend money and time migrating the OS and the applications - or you will have to support numerous OS-versions and applications. This aspect of TCO is seldom taken into account. Of course, migrating to Linux will have a one-time cost-effect. But that's it. A number of large companies and governmental organizations in Germany are already thinking about migrating to Linux because of these issues. Others will stick to XP, only because of all their Windows-based applications. But they will have to think about the whole issue again in 2004 (and in 2007...). One day, they will migrate to Linux, just because the migration-costs will kill them. Bernhard
From: Branden Robinson <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: seeking FDL 1.2 draft comment summary Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 16:56:51 -0500 Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Gentlemen, At <http://www.fsf.org/copyleft/fdl.html>, the following text can be found: "On 7 February 2002, the FSF released a draft of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 for comment. The comment period lasts for three weeks, until 1 March 2002. If you have comments on this draft, please direct them to <email@example.com> by 1 March 2002. "The FSF always seeks input from the community at large before adopting a new version of our Free licenses. We consider all feedback carefully; however we may not be able to respond to each comment individually. At the end of the comment period, we will post a summary of the most common comments." The comment period concluded a two-and-a-half months ago, and still there is no sign of any public posting of comments received by the FSF, or any summary thereof. I think this lag stretches the meaning of "at the end of the comment period". Several Debian Developers participated in your comment process and we are extremely interested in what perspectives may have been raised by other parties. We are also interested in the FSF's position on the feedback it received, and whether and how the feedback has influenced the forthcoming revision of the GNU FDL. I sent a message regarding this very subject on 1 April, and received absolutely no reply of any sort from anyone affiliated with FSF. Please acknowledge your receipt of this message, and advise as to the current disposition of the GNU FDL revision process. The current version of the GNU FDL can be applied in ways that a substantial number of Debian developers regard as non-free, and more to the point some GNU Manuals will be impacted by our assessment of the license. If a new version of the GNU FDL is not forthcoming from the Free Software Foundation, then Debian will need to make its evaluations based on the current version; we cannot table these issues indefinitely. Thank you for your attention, and for your encouragement of community participation when making strategic decisions about future versions of the licenses you endorse.  http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200204/msg00002.html  Clarification: I did receive a private reply from a person affiliated with the FSF, but who attested that he had nothing to do with the development of the FDL, and appears to be as much of an outsider to the process as Debian is. I received no reply from Richard M. Stallman, Bradley Kuhn, Eben Moglen, or anyone purporting to speak for any person of leadership in the FSF.  The GNU FDL and the issues it was designed to address sparked massive discussions within Debian; there is clearly a demand for a copyleft that deals with materials that aren't obviously software. References to the "root nodes" of several discussion threads follow. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200110/msg00096.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200110/msg00126.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200111/msg00000.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200111/msg00006.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200111/msg00063.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200111/msg00094.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200111/msg00100.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00001.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00007.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00010.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00052.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00250.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00276.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00336.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00358.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00361.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00394.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00450.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200201/msg00250.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200202/msg00114.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200203/msg00009.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200203/msg00054.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200203/msg00104.html Also, several threads contained direct commentary on the FDL 1.2 draft: http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200202/msg00046.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200202/msg00071.html http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200202/msg00079.html -- G. Branden Robinson | If you have the slightest bit of Debian GNU/Linux | intellectual integrity you cannot firstname.lastname@example.org | support the government. http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | -- anonymous