Linux Distribution info
rick at hugin.imat.com
Thu Jun 24 19:56:56 PDT 1999
Quoting E. Frank Ball (frankb at sr.hp.com):
> Debian is completely non-commercial, so it will never be OEMed....
This is not correct.
For background, please understand that Debian consists of four categories.
CD vendors' selections from those categories differ, and many elect to
offer some or all of the first two only. (There are over 2500 packages,
in total.) By contrast, 100% of the packages are available at the
Debian ftp mirrors, which are (thus) the reference collections:
1. Main: Packages whose licence allows free distribution with free access
to source (and have no US export restrictions).
2. Non-free: Package with restrictive licences, but no US export restrictions.
3. Non-US: All packages with US export restrictions.
4. Contrib: All packages that would otherwise qualify for the "main"
category, but that depend on non-free packages. (Note that this is
a distinct meaning of "contrib" from what most people are used to.
Many people have been misled by this confusing terminology.)
_Literally_ speaking, the term "commercial" means "subject to being sold
as a product or service". In that sense, Debian is eminently
commercial, in that you can buy CD-ROM sets from a large number of
vendors. Many are listed at http://www.debian.org/distrib/vendors.
However, what people often mean by "commercial" is "includes proprietary
software". Debian's non-free collection includes a few well-known
proprietary packages such as Netscape4.x, Quake2, and xv, but obviously
is limited to those packages for whom the owners have permitted
third-party ftp distribution.
Which brings us to the point that some people mean "comes bundled with
major shrink-wrapped applications, on the shelf at CompUSA". Nobody has
yet bundled a Debian subset with Star Office, ApplixWare, or Oracle
8.0.5. However, there's not only no reason why they couldn't, but fewer
obstacles than with most other distributions -- since bundlers can rest
assured that everything in "Main" is unencumbered by third party
property claims. For example, bundle SuSE 6.1 with your office suite
and sell it, without getting permission from SuSE GmbH, and they'll
sue you for violating their licence to YaST.
In fact, Debian _is_ "being OEMed", as we speak, by Corel Cororation,
which is preparing a value-added proprietary superset of Debian, for
release later this year.
Cheers, Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based,
Rick Moen not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed,
rick (at) linuxmafia.com modern-American-English-usage-improvement association
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