iLinux OS Talk

Can a Linux distro be closed source?

append delete root

https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/129549/can-a-linux-distro-be-closed-source

QUESTION:

Can a Linux distro be closed source?

According to the GPL licence, which is the one used by the Linux kernel, every modification in the source must be open source too. But, for example, if I create a new OS based on Linux, I develop my own Desktop system and all that stuff, but I don't make any modification to the kernel, does my project need to be open source just by using Linux?

ANSWER:

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 concerned is this particular version of the license (ie v2, not v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

Linus Torvalds

So, if you want to create your own operating system userland from the ground up, then you can license that part however you like. You can then distribute the whole thing together, and the kernel will be licensed as the kernel is and your userland pieces licensed the way they are. This is not uncommon, since various proprietary systems use the linux kernel (although they would often include other open source pieces too, I think).

What you cannot do is distribute the whole thing together claiming your license applies to the included kernel (unless your license is GPL compatible).

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Replies

append delete #1. root

https://www.quora.com/Can-a-Linux-distro-be-partly-closed-source-like-95-open-source-or-something

Can a Linux distro be partly closed source (like 95% open source or something)?

Sure. Many are (as many include things like firmware for certain devices, and that firmware is often closed source - but not just, for example previously many included Adobe Flash, which again is closed source, or various codecs for playing back multimedia content).

append delete #2. Linux Soul

You can't use a computer for serious work/play/fun only with 100% Open Source Software. Period.

append delete #3. ClickNin

You can't use a computer for serious work/play/fun only with 100% Open Source Software. Period.

Well our world just doesn't work that way. It's not impossible, but I imagine most people couldn't live without Google or any of the big tech giants services. Open source alternatives for most commonly used programs exists, but the average Joe prefer easier to use than freedom, that's just how the world works really.

Take Microsoft Windows for example: sure it had a better UI, software support and so on, but inside it's full of DRM, telemetry and Microsoft bullshit. It's the same thing for any other proprietary services. You are the product since proprietary means the developer effectively have control over their users.

Always hoped nouveau driver to support proper manual reclocking for Fermi nVIDIA GPUs though, as the proprietary drivers sucks (no optimus, overheating and so on) so I can finally use my old GPU at full performance (or at least, as much performance as I could get) without blob drivers. Beside from Google Chrome (which I'm hoping to switch to Firefox soon), most of the stuff I need all have open source alternatives that sometimes even works better than the proprietary ones, and the open source Mesa graphic driver just outperform the proprietary Windows driver.

append delete #4. Linux Soul

@ClickNin

It's not only Chrome.

We are talking about hardware drivers, multimedia codecs, image codecs and a bunch of apps that most people use on a daily basis.

Proprietary software is not always about less freedom but for quality control too and if the developers want to make money from their code it's their right.

There is proprietary software with visible code and without DRM or telemetry.

append delete #5. iLinux Support Team

@ClickNin

Concerning Free Open Source Software (FOSS):

Philosophically and ethically we agree but every day practicality needs things get done.

We support FOSS but in the real world 99% of Devices, Appliances, Machinery and Vehicles YOU USE run on Proprietary Software.

The Computer or Tablet or Phone you are using right now to Preach FOSS runs on Proprietary Software (Embedded in the Hardware or not).

This is pure hypocrisy.

We agree that FOSS is good but we need things get done and if FOSS does not suit us we'll use whatever software does the job.

That's what FOSS Fanatics don't get. Users need things get done. Now.

Mac, iPhone and iPad run on Proprietary Software and still they changed the world and gave us tremendous power.

Proprietary Software is not always about removing or limiting our Freedoms and our Rights.

It can be about User Experience Consistency, Quality Control and Stability. At least that is the case with iLinux OS.

Not all proprietary Applications are full of DRM, spies and sell your data for advertising purposes.

FOSS Applications can also be full of DRM, spies and sell your data for advertising purposes.

We value Freedom and Trasnparency above all and that's why all the Proprietary Code we have written for iLinux OS is Scriptable and available for Security Auditing to everyone: https://ilinuxos.com/technical-specifications.html

append delete #6. root

@ClickNin

99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites & Linux YouTube Channels" aggressively sell your browsing data to 1000's of CAPITALIST COMPANIES AND CLANDESTINE AGENCIES by spying on you via Cookies, so even in most Linux distros (FOSS or not) you are the product...

In 99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites" the DEFAULT Cookie Settings are a Privacy Nightmare and they don't have a DISAGREE button at the MAIN COOKIES WINDOW, so you have to MANUALLY UNCHECK 100's or 1000's LEGITIMATE INTEREST (CAPITALIST) PARTNERS to be able to view the website without the entire planet spying on you for the FOSS CAPITALISTS TO MAKE A FORTUNE.

I am not saying that it's bad to want to make money, but if at the same time you are preaching Internet Freedom, FOSS and Anti-capitalist Anti-fascist "Linux Ethics", it's a bit hypocritical at best.

append delete #7. Seraf

FOSS communities and IRC channels are the worst bullies in the Linux sphere. The are getting paid extremely well by Capitalist Big Tech and they try ro preach/impose "FOSS OR FUCK YOU BASTARD GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE" to Linux fans. Hypocrisy at it's worst...

append delete #8. AaronTechnic

The are getting paid extremely well by Capitalist Big Tech

Do you have a source?

append delete #9. Susan

@AaronTechnic

---

1.

Considering they spend so much time on FOSS, how do they earn money to live?

---

2.

Don't forget that GNOME propaganda machine is heavily funded by companies.

GNOME is a free product made by GNOME Foundation, which is a non-profit company founded in 2000 by companies such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Red Hat. On its advisory board there are many big players, like Google, Canonical, Debian, SUSE and System76. Its annual income has been around 1 million dollars since 2018. Red Hat estimated that 70% of the code committed for GNOME comes from paid participants who work for other companies. So essentially this is not a bunch of volunteer geeks who like to code in the night just for fun, but rather a company with direct and indirect employees, managers, directors, deadlines and a product that needs to make a profit for its investors and shareholders.

It is important to remember all that when talking about GNOME...

---

3.

99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites & Linux YouTube Channels" aggressively sell your personal web browsing data to 1000's of CAPITALIST COMPANIES AND CLANDESTINE AGENCIES by spying on you via Cookies, so even in most Linux distros (FOSS or not) you are the product...

In 99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites" the DEFAULT Cookie Settings are a Privacy Nightmare and they don't have a DISAGREE button at the MAIN COOKIES WINDOW, so you have to MANUALLY UNCHECK 100's or 1000's LEGITIMATE INTEREST (CAPITALIST) PARTNERS to be able to view the website without the entire planet spying on you for the FOSS CAPITALISTS TO MAKE A FORTUNE.

append delete #10. Seraf

@AaronTechnic

Really? FOSS bullies are online 24/7/365 in irc and in 1000's websites and YouTube channels. A task force of this size requires heavy funding, structured command, infrastructure and logistical support.

append delete #11. AxelF

Free software does not mean lack of copyright. Anyone can distribute their source code freely and they can put any restrictions they like on the source code or on the distribution of binaries they built themselves.

append delete #12. AaronTechnic

@Susan

Considering they spend so much time on FOSS, how do they earn money to live?

Through ads, in the case of GNOME and FOSS projects, it's through funding or donations.

Don't forget that GNOME propaganda machine is heavily funded by companies.

Source for "gnome propaganda"?

99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites & Linux YouTube Channels" aggressively sell your personal web browsing data to 1000's of CAPITALIST COMPANIES AND CLANDESTINE AGENCIES by spying on you via Cookies, so even in most Linux distros (FOSS or not) you are the product...

In 99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites" the DEFAULT Cookie Settings are a Privacy Nightmare and they don't have a DISAGREE button at the MAIN COOKIES WINDOW, so you have to MANUALLY UNCHECK 100's or 1000's LEGITIMATE INTEREST (CAPITALIST) PARTNERS to be able to view the website without the entire planet spying on you for the FOSS CAPITALISTS TO MAKE A FORTUNE.

Where is this 99.99% from, and do you have a source?

append delete #13. Susan

@AaronTechnic

Through ads, in the case of GNOME and FOSS projects, it's through funding or donations.

Exactly. The are getting paid extremely well by Capitalist Big Tech Monopoly.

Oh, you "conveniently forgot" to mention the Big Brother Fascist Spy Cookies that pour rivers of money to CAPITALIST COMPANIES, CLANDESTINE AGENCIES and FOSS CAPITALISTS "PRIVACY AND INTERNET FREEDOM PREACHERS"...

By the way, where is the 2022 Funding Report for the GNOME Foundation? Was it lost somewhere on the way to "Financial Transparency Linux Ethics"?!

https://foundation.gnome.org/reports/

Fun fact: In the GNOME Funding Reports page you see an Older reports may be available upon request. note. Either they were too tired to put the older reports in the page... (creating a web link to a PDF file is so complex these days) ...or they are hiding something...

---

Source for "gnome propaganda"?

Where is this 99.99% from, and do you have a source?

Internet.

Just visit relevant websites and YouTube Channels.

Do you have a source for the opposite?

99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites & Linux YouTube Channels" aggressively sell your personal web browsing data to 1000's of CAPITALIST COMPANIES AND CLANDESTINE AGENCIES by spying on you via Cookies, so even in most Linux distros (FOSS or not) you are the product...

In 99.99% of FOSS "Linux Community Websites" the DEFAULT Cookie Settings are a Privacy Nightmare and they don't have a DISAGREE button at the MAIN COOKIES WINDOW, so you have to MANUALLY UNCHECK 100's or 1000's LEGITIMATE INTEREST (CAPITALIST) PARTNERS to be able to view the website without the entire planet spying on you for the FOSS CAPITALISTS TO MAKE A FORTUNE.

I am not saying that it's bad to want to make money, but if at the same time you are preaching Internet Freedom, FOSS and Anti-capitalist Anti-fascist "Linux Ethics", it's a bit hypocritical at best.

GNOME propaganda machine is heavily funded by companies.

GNOME is a free product made by GNOME Foundation, which is a non-profit company founded in 2000 by companies such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Red Hat. On its advisory board there are many big players, like Google, Canonical, Debian, SUSE and System76. Its annual income has been around 1 million dollars since 2018. Red Hat estimated that 70% of the code committed for GNOME comes from paid participants who work for other companies. So essentially this is not a bunch of volunteer geeks who like to code in the night just for fun, but rather a company with direct and indirect employees, managers, directors, deadlines and a product that needs to make a profit for its investors and shareholders.

It is important to remember all that when talking about GNOME...

And let me quote someone from this forum:

GNOME is losing the linux game despite the millions of dollars flowing into it and they will try everything to ease their fall and keep the money coming...

With millions of dollars flowing in their pockets, of course it is a company covered by the "non profit foundation" label...

Yeah right... If it wasn't for the millions of dollars flowing in their pockets GNOME would already be dead.

Some naive people right here. Gnome has nothing of a community, it's actually one of the least community-driven project in the Linux world. Of course they go hard on their propaganda that it is, but we all know it's as fake a community as it gets.

Come on "Aaron" give it a rest with thread hijaking will you?

Your shady past in this forum indicates that you are working for Canonical/GNOME in the "Propaganda & Damage Control Department".

Hope the paycheck is satisfactory...

append delete #14. Seraf

@Susan

By the way, where is the 2022 Funding Report for the GNOME Foundation? Was it lost somewhere on the way to "Financial Transparency Linux Ethics"?!

https://foundation.gnome.org/reports/

Fun fact: In the GNOME Funding Reports page you see an Older reports may be available upon request. note. Either they were too tired to put the older reports in the page... (creating a web link to a PDF file is so complex these days) ...or they are hiding something...

Excellent points Susan.

2022 funding report missing?

Older reports may be available upon request?

Oops...

append delete #15. Susan

@Seraf

I really would like to see the 2022 Funding Report for the GNOME Foundation but I guess they need 10 or more years to put it online... 🤣

Oh and those older reports too... 🤪

So much money "wasted" on a Java based Desktop Environment and for what?

OMG who would even think of building a Desktop Environment with Java???

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