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16

The reason that a Linux distribution is "free" is that many of the pieces of software it includes are covered by the GNU General Public License (GPL for short). There are two different types of "free": freedom to see and modify the source code ("libre") free of charge ("gratis") The GPL is about the first "freedom", not the second. Provided Red Hat ...


9

Copyrighted means there is a copyright and license protecting that. The license in the case of the Linux kernel is GPL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html). In a nutshell, you are allowed to modify the code in any way you wish. However, if you republish your modified code, you have to license it GPL and keep the credit to the original authors. Also, if ...


7

A lot of what RedHat charges for is actually the support and services around the OS itself. They have their own specific config and build, but any Linux provider has that. The real reason RedHat can charge is that their support services are appropriate at enterprise level. Their market space includes corporates and large organisations whose need for ...


4

Is anyone allowed to share modified program using same name? It depends; the GPL doesn't really specify that, since names aren't copyrighted. They are, however, obligated to clearly state it's not the same: The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and giving a relevant date. To control the name itself, you need a ...


3

First of all, a GNU/Linux distribution consists of many software packages, some of which are licensed under GNU GPL, but there are other licenses involved as well. For example, Perl is covered under the Artistic License or GPL — your choice, and Apache is covered by the Apache license. That said, the GPL is one of the strongest copyleft licenses that ...


2

Well, Android sources are open. http://source.android.com/


2

To be a bit more specific, Red Hat does freely provide the source RPMs used to build the binary version of their distribution (the base ISO, updates, etc). You can grab all the SRPMs and build them, and you will essentially have RHEL. There are a number of projects that do just this (with some rebranding), notable CentOS, Scientific Linux, White Box, etc. ...


2

@rob is right. GNOME is technically an official GNU project. However, there is a lot of interesting history. Let's roll back the clock It's 1996. There are no desktop environments. Users and sysadmins assemble environments from a hodge-podge of programs. Different window managers, different applications, maybe a dock. There are two major toolkits on the ...


2

Here's the preamble to COPYING, included with the kernel source: NOTE! This copyright does not cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use of the kernel, and does not fall under the heading of "derived work". [...] note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel is ...


1

The Minix 3 license looks very similar to a standard BSD style license which is more permissive than the GPL, for example it will allow commercial use of the software in binary form without forcing a release of the source code. It is considered free software (like any of the BSD software), but is not compatible with the GPL mainly due to the "advertising ...



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