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Re: [linrad] Linrad and Mandrake 9.2

 > It seems
> Mandrake is starting to get away a bit fom the Open Source ethos towards 
> a commercial model - how is supporting a commercial entity suporting the 
> Linux community?

The businesses making money off Linux provide services -- 
integration, support, customization, administration. That's 
been one of the cardinal principles of Open Source since the 
beginning. So far it's working pretty well for RedHat, SuSE, 
IBM, and now Mandrake again.

It can't be stressed often enough that the "free" in "free 
software" is used in the same sense as in "free speech," not 
as in "free beer." The GPL doesn't rule out charging money. 
What it does say is

(1) If you distribute a piece of GPL'ed software -- either 
for free or for a fee -- you also must offer to make the 
source code available for a specified period of time, and 
for no more than the cost of media and duplication.

(2) If you modify a piece of GPL'ed software and then 
distribute it, you must do so under the same terms as (1), 
including your modifications.

The key here is distribution. You can modify and use GPL'ed 
code to your heart's content for your own purposes without 
revealing a line of the source code to anybody. The GPL only 
gets involved if you start passing the software on to 
someone else. Another important point is that, unless 
otherwise provided for, copyrights remain with the owners of 
the software -- usually the authors. GPL is not public domain.

Big-business users of Open Source software are paying big 
bucks to have that software installed, maintained, and 
adapted to their needs. But they aren't paying for the core 
software itself. That's the model.

When you buy a distro from Mandrake, you're paying for the 
effort that went into organizing and validating the distro, 
some installation support, and ongoing access to the most 
up-to-date versions of the constituent software. None of 
this is anything you couldn't in principle do for yourself 
and for free. Chances are you don't want to, however.