United Linux and Open Source
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Thread: United Linux and Open Source

  1. #1
    Leftie Linux Lover the_JinX's Avatar
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    United Linux and Open Source

    So what do you think about United Linux after reading this open letter from the Free Software Foundation??

    as found here

    Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 13:34:00 -0400
    From: "Bradley M. Kuhn" <bkuhn@fsf.org>
    To: unitedlinux@sco.com, unitedlinux@conectiva.com, webmaster@unitedlinux.com, unitedlinux@suse.com, unitedlinux@turbolinux.com
    Cc: lwn@lwn.net, mbenoit@virtualmgmt.com
    Subject: Follow up request for terms of the NDA

    [ An open letter to the UnitedLinux Board of Managers from the Free Software Foundation ]

    Dear UnitedLinux Board of Managers,

    On the conference call announcement that occurred on 18 September 2002, you indicated that you'd be willing to release to the Free Software community the terms that of your "closed beta" NDA, to show that your closed beta was indeed distributed in compliance with the terms of the GNU General Public License and the GNU Lesser General Public License.

    As you know, distribution of any type is still distribution under copyright law, and thus requires that you properly comply with terms of GPL and LGPL. Of course, it is your prerogative to distribute only to those parties you wish to receive a copy, but you may not restrict those parties' rights under GNU GPL and LGPL.

    However, since nearly all of the volunteers from the Free Software community (your fellow developers) did not receive a copy of the so-called "closed beta", we ask that in a show of good faith, you make available at least the terms of distribution you used for that product.

    Even as you release your new product to the public, the past situation must be clarified. Not only does the community deserve to know, but I also believe it behooves you to put to rest and clarify the legal ambiguities that arise naturally from doing a "closed beta" of GPL'ed software.

    I look forward to your prompt response, and thank you for taking my question today. I presume that you are acting in full compliance with GPL; this is just a matter of clarifing that fact for the community.

    Sincerely,

    Bradley M. Kuhn
    Executive Director, Free Software Foundation
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  2. #2
    Senior Member problemchild's Avatar
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    As I understand it, the closed beta is available only to close partners of the 4 founding members of UL, and is to be followed by an open beta sometime later this month. I don't really see all that much difference between a closed beta to trusted business partners and the kind of internal testing that goes on before a public beta is released. I mean, every time developers try out a new build internally, do they have to distribute source code for that build daily to everybody in the company? Somehow, I think not.....

    Where does the line between internal testing and publishing lie? I, for one, don't really see a problem here as long as the final product complies with the GPL. I think FSF is overreacting a little, as they are prone to do.
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  3. #3
    Webius Designerous Indiginous
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    Ya I agree. Many times software writers will do this so that their beta program doesn't get fixed by x amount of other people. Then you have 100 different patches that will take care of the bugs. In this way they don't have to worry about all kinds of beta fixes laying around everywhere. As it is only a beta I don't believe it is required to fall uder the GNU gpl until its final release. As problemchild stated, once its final is released I'm sure it will comply with all the GNU requirements.

  4. #4
    Leftie Linux Lover the_JinX's Avatar
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    UnitedLinux admitted it had its partners sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to use the closed beta, which likely means that UL violated the copyright of kernel developers everywhere and others who have contributed to GNU/Linux. If the NDA was structured so that the GPL would take precedence on non-proprietary, Free Software elements of the software, then that NDA would not violate the terms of the GPL. It is more likely, however, that the NDA squashed the GPLed freedoms by forcing recipients of the closed beta to agree that they would not redistribute any portion of the software.

    http://newsforge.com/newsforge/02/09...2.shtml?tid=51
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  5. #5
    Leftie Linux Lover the_JinX's Avatar
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    ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI.
    When in Russia, pet a PETSCII.

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