Closed betas and the GPL
Posted Sep 20, 2002 17:52 UTC (Fri) by erat
In reply to: Closed betas and the GPL
Parent article: Closed betas and the GPL
I think you may be mistaken about the purpose of UnitedLinux. It's not an open source or free software project by charter/definition; it's a unification of at least four companies' Linux efforts as well as a unification of the current lot of approved Linux standards into one installable Linux system. It just so happens that some/most of the elements of this Linux system are open sourced or free.
When folks chat about the "spirit of free and open source software" they're probably thinking that the project is -- by definition -- a free and/or open sourced project by virtue of the fact that there are free and/or open sourced components contained within. I guess if one chooses to refer to Linux as "GNU/Linux" because of the GNU components that distros utilize, I can see how folks would reach that conclusion.
That's not how UL seems to be identifying itself, though. I'm sure compliance with the licenses under which the components are distributed is something UL is highly concerned about (good luck selling corporations on a Linux system that has known legal issues) but beyond compliance I would guess that the open source and/or free licensing of some components is incidental and will not be highlighted as a major selling point. Nor should it be. There are lots of options out there for folks who want open sourced or free software. UL seems to be tackling the Linux development world from a fresh perspective: focus on bringing applications to Linux by providing a well supported, predictable platform complete with release schedules and worldwide support. It's amazing how difficult it can be to find those two things in modern Linux distributions, and from personal experience having dealt 1:1 with ISVs, it's one of the major reasons ISVs hesitate to dive head first into Linux support.
I doubt that the open source and free licensing of some UL components will be downplayed or ignored, but I also doubt UL sales folks will shine a spotlight on them and try to use them as the ace #1 major selling point of UL. The "identity" of UL (after looking at their FAQ) is based upon standards, consistency, and functionality, not access to source code.
That's my guess... Flame away.
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