"Open Source Constitution"?

Chuck Swiger chuck at codefab.com
Sat Apr 9 19:31:18 UTC 2005

Bruce Perens wrote:
> Chuck Swiger wrote:
>> Those people [2] who see a strong distinction between Microsoft 
>> selling a product containing Open Source Software such as zlib and 
>> IPFW; Red Hat selling a product containing OSS such as the Linux 
>> kernel and a mix of GNU and BSD-licensed userland utilities; or Apple 
>> selling a product containing OSS such as the Mach kernel plus a mix of 
>> BSD and GNU utilities; are applying double standards.
> This paragraph seems to avoid the major distinction, which is the 
> proprietary component of the work.

Which work are you talking about, here?  Just Windows?  Or all of them?

Sure, Windows is 98+% proprietary, and maybe 2% OSS.

With MacOS X, the balance is probably around 70/30, whereas a Darwin 
distribution is likely to be as pure as Ivory soap.  :-)

However, even the core Linux kernel team depended quite heavily on a 
proprietary component, or they did a week ago.  Does anyone here using Linux 
have an PERC/3 controller?  If so, are you using Adaptec's proprietary aac 
RAID management utility?

What about people with wireless cards who have to upload a proprietary binary 
object to the card's firmware?  Isn't that fairly common in wireless Linux 
drivers?  Or what about the nVidia and ATI video drivers which provide 3D 
acceleration?  X11 and the DRI is open source, but if you hit:


"2.1.2 Linux/FreeBSD Exception. Notwithstanding the foregoing terms of Section 
2.1.1, SOFTWARE designed exclusively for use on the Linux or FreeBSD operating 
systems, or other operating systems derived from the source code to these 
operating systems, may be copied and redistributed, provided that the binary 
files thereof are not modified in any way (except for unzipping of compressed 


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