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Re: How long is linux going to be free ?

On Friday 28 March 2003 18:06, adit y wrote:

> Since i started liking the Debian Linux, i started
> thinking about  Linux in general and thus some
> questions about linux in the long term.

OK, welcome to the free software world

Note: in all my sentences, free means free as in freedom.

> 1. How long is it going to be free ?

Actually many ask the opposite. Will the day come, that all softwares on earth 
will be free? Optimists like me, like to think that the answer to this 
question is yes.

> 2. Is there any possibility of this becoming a
> copyrighted software in future ? ( i mean   some
> company taking over and saying that only i am the
> owner and only i can make modifications)

First of all, you get the wrong meaning for copyrighted. Free software is 
copyrighted. Linux, and all GNU softwares are copyrighted. Copyright software 
is not the opposite of free software, we use terms like non-free software, 
proprietary software, and lock-in software, to imply the opposite meaning of 
free software.

The answer to this question of yours, depends on the what you mean by Linux. 
If by Linux you mean, the kernel, yes, it is possible for any company to use 
the Linux kernel, and add a proprietary shell, a proprietary X, and a 
proprietary desktop enviroment to it. 

But if by Linux, you refer to the platform, it is not possible for anyone to 
make Linux a proprietary software. Because of the nature of copyleft (as in 
GPL), you can never get things away from the community. Copyleft software, 
does not have owner, so though lenghy discussions about this can be made, the 
short answer to your question is : No, no single entity, individual, company, 
or government can ever be the owner of free software, and rule it.

> people start using a graphics file format for 5 years
> because they think it is free, create millions of
>  graphics and one fine day it's not free because the
> compression algorithm it is based on is patented.

That's why, the free software community cares about software patents, and 
thinks that software patents are wrong. that's why we have made things like 
ogg and png.

> So are there any tabs here in linux where it can not
> become not free in future. so any gpl derived software
> needs to be gpled but what about the other way, can
> you start including non gpled software ,closed sourced
> modules in gpled software. if that is possible then
> with each new release can included a included a lot of
> non gpled software being used from gpled, eventually
> by the time you get into version 50.0 it might become
> 2% free and 98% not free. looks like some flavors of
> linux are going that way.

No you see, you can run proprietary software on the GNU/Linux platform, but 
you can not even link GPL software with proprietary software. No proprietary 
module can get in a free software. So, things which are free will always be 
free, they won't become 50% free (such a thing doesn't exist, either 
something is free, or it is not).



/* Those who do not understand Unix 
 *are condemned to reinvent it, poorly */
                                         -UNDEAD Evil GNU/Linux
Aryan Ameri

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