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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.