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It’s a Fine Day for Free Software (Updated)

Posted in Dell, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, HP, Windows at 9:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is some encouraging news for GNU/Linux. Dell has expressed satisfaction with its Linux sales and decided to expand its Linux intitiative to new models. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard says that it hopes to offer preinstalled Linux on personal computers within a few weeks or months. The distribution of choice is unaffected by Microsoft deals (or ‘tax’).

Come Friday, the GPLv3 will be finalised and released. Novell, Microsoft, and the Linux Foundation declined to comment until everything is sealed, but the following article offers some encouraging perspectives.

“GPL version 3 does clean up a lot of things about the GPL that were sort of implicit in previous and become much more explicit here,” such as how the GPL interacts with other licenses, Spencer said.

Sun has expressed the possibility of offering its Solaris OS under the GPL 3. The Linux kernel has been offered under the GPL previously.

Richard Stallman seems to have just published an essay that reminds us why Freedom in software is so important. It is definitely worth quoting.

Many of us know that governments can threaten the human rights of software users through censorship and surveillance of the Internet. Many do not realize that the software they run on their home or work computers can be an even worse threat. Thinking of software as “just a tool”, they suppose that it obeys them, when in fact it often obeys others instead.

The software running in most computers is non-free, proprietary software: controlled by software companies, not by its users. Users can’t check what these programs do, nor prevent them from doing what they don’t want. Most people accept this because they have seen no other way, but it is simply wrong to give developers power over the users’ computer.

This unjust power, as usual, tempts its wielders to further misdeeds. If a computer talks to a network, and you don’t control the software in it, it can easily spy on you. Microsoft Windows spies on users; for instance, it reports what words a user searches for in her own files, and what other programs are installed.

Update: more good news has just come in. Another big name (this time it’s Epson) has begun preinstalling GNU/Linux on PCs

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