11.12.07

SUSE and Freespire Are Not Free Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Linspire, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Moneyville

Novell’s and Linspire’s GNU/Linux Hoarding

Ever wondered why you don’t see [m]any SUSE forks around? Have a look at this new essay which why there is no Open Source SLES.

One of them is that the SLES community is much smaller and more aimed at proprietary software. Novell itself is promoting Mixed Source and promotes its own proprietary software on top of SLES (also see OES). This obviously scares part of the community away. The deal with Microsoft obviously does as well. As a result Novell is big within Enterprises with little community people, and these are not the kind of people that would spend their free time rebuilding packages and do QA.

Another reason is that Novell is not in favor of such a project (even though people from within Novell _and_ people in the SLES community disagree with management) because it fears it will take away some of the profit and Novell made a big risk by taking the Linux route, they cannot afford to make it fail.

It no longer begs the question: why hasn’t anyone forked SUSE yet? Novell deserves to have a CentOS pulled against it after what it did (and given many contributors whom it betrayed). Novell won’t exactly allow this though. Remember FreeSUSE? How about Freespire, a supposedly-free version of Linspire. Caitlyn has just taken a good look at the EULA of Freespire and she was very underwhelmed (even shocked). Here are her conclusions:

That [Freespire EULA] read to me entirely like a proprietary license. Of course I am not a lawyer and I may be misinterpreting something. Still, I am seriously uncomfortable about having Freespire on my system based on their EULA.

My review was also postponed by the release of version 2.03 which corrects many of the bugs I ran into. So… do I review 2.03? Probably not, at least until Freespire makes clear that they are truly an Open Source OS that I can use as I see fit without fee. I’m not at all sure Freespire is even free “as in free beer”.

Linspire’s EULA too has only permits the software to be installed on a single PC. Needn’t it be compared to just another “Windows of the Linux world”? Or the “Microsoft of Linux”, as we mentioned last night? This is also a GPL violation, probably. Watch the comments in Caitlyn’s good assessment. IANAL. Neither is she.

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11 Comments

  1. eet said,

    November 12, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Gravatar

    *cough* Red Hat

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  2. SundayRefugee said,

    November 13, 2007 at 12:03 am

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    *cough* Using Fedora, which I am free to modify and redistribute in whatever ways my imagination can come up with, which makes it completely and truly free, both as in freedom and as in beer. Red Hat even includes a copious amount of tools which makes this task trivially easy. The passing around and sharing of my downloaded CD is also encouraged *cough*

    *cough* eet, you need to get a clue, and stop trolling *cough*

  3. eet said,

    November 13, 2007 at 2:53 am

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    As you people seem to very, very behind in information: SLED was code-identical to openSUSE 10.0 when it started out, except for the addition of Citrix in SLED AFAIR. Through the service-pack it now is virtually identical openSUSE 10.3. Except that SLED still is burdened by ZMD software management, while openSUSE is not…

    So there is no reason for a clone of SLED. openSUSE IS SLED+.

    I guess the whole idea of you wanting a ‘clone’ of SLED comes from the sorry state of things at Red Hat. Their community-distribution (Fedora) doesn’t resemble RHEL at all.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  4. SundayRefugee said,

    November 13, 2007 at 6:12 am

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    You demonstrate no logic at all in your statement.

    What sorry state of affairs would Red Hat be experiencing? In what way is it a negative that their community distro is bleeding edge (ala Sid) while thier commercial distro is more conservative and mature (ala Etch)? Please demonstrate in some fashion how this is in any way a problem.

  5. eet said,

    November 13, 2007 at 7:48 am

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    You didn’t understand that. I explained the difference between SLED and RHEL.

    I said, there is no point in asking for a community-SLED because openSUSE _is_ that community-SLED.

    Novell seemingly has a different policy with their Enterprise-distro; they are a lot less conservative and accept much newer code into it (from openSUSE), while Red Hat is very conservative and thus uses Fedora as a ‘testbed’ but doesn’t easily accept code from Fedora into RHEL.

    For Fedora users it is a bit of a ‘sorry situation’ that the distro isn’t as well serviced by Red Hat personell as openSUSE is by Novell personell. Fedora devs just have to work out things by themselves while openSUSE-devs and SLED-devs basically are working on the same product.

    Thus Red Hat fans have demand for a community-spin of RHEL while SUSE-users have little or no use for a ‘community-version’ of SLED.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 13, 2007 at 8:24 am

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    SundayRefugee,

    You are feeding a known troll.

  7. SundayRefugee said,

    November 14, 2007 at 1:21 am

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    Yes, as I scroll through the comments tonight, I’m finding your site to be of much more value by skipping over his ad-hom “contributions” to your every post.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 14, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Gravatar

    It’s something new (the trolls and the ad hominem attacks in perticular).

    About half of the comments come from trolls at the moment. It used to be only around 20%/80% (not in favour of trolls).

  9. eet said,

    November 16, 2007 at 5:16 am

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    You mean, it used to be mainly bootlickers commenting here while you now get told the inconvenient truth.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  10. Dark Phoenix said,

    November 20, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Gravatar

    “You mean, it used to be mainly bootlickers commenting here while you now get told the inconvenient truth.”

    No, it means that most of the people here are tired of you posting comments from 2001 as if nothing has happened at all in 6 years. Despite your stupid belief, RHEL starts with Fedora at a specific point in time. The only difference is that RHEL only gets BUGFIXES, and Fedora continues to update along with upstream. And despite your assertion, openSUSE is NOT SLES; there are many pieces of SLES which you can’t find in SLES. So quit lying about it.

    “while Red Hat is very conservative and thus uses Fedora as a ‘testbed’ but doesn’t easily accept code from Fedora into RHEL.”

    Sure they don’t. That’s obviously why every release of RHEL occurs the same week as a specific release of Fedora, and why every version starts off code-for-code identical. I guess that also explains why RHEL sometimes gets “updates” when new versions of Fedora are released (like the 4.6 update they released alongside Fedora 8 last week). I guess that also explains why Fedora has such pieces as the Fedora Directory Server and the Fedora Cluster Management system (which, BTW, are serviced by the Red Hat engineers alongside the community, because they use the exact same source for the Red Hat versions that go into RHEL). That must also explain why so many Red Hat personnel hang around the IRC rooms and email lists and make suggestions and accept work from the outside coders. Damn, you sure showed why openSUSE is different!

  11. Chris said,

    March 16, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Gravatar

    How come the giant SLED license agreement has no mention whatsoever of the GPL?

    The GPL makes it very clear that you can’t distribute GPL without telling people it’s GPL’d … seems Novel don’t give a shit about stealing my work and selling it to their customers – without even telling them anything about me – one of the people who’ve contributed to the kernel…

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