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1.2. Free Software Rationale Details

When people talk about free software they are talking about more than just software that has no monetary cost. They are also talking about more than simply "Open Source," meaning available source code. In addition to code and binaries that come with free software, it also grants certain rights. Someone in The Fedora Project who makes changes to free software may also be giving up certain rights. This standard discusses details of the rights and responsibilities that come with free software, and sets out a framework for which licenses are acceptable.
The free software standard gives an explicit list of licenses deemed acceptable for Fedora's distribution. Fedora is the basis for all Red Hat compatible distributions, and therefore the licensing choices made in Fedora affect the whole family. Because of this relationship, CSI focuses on these licenses. The current list of acceptable licenses can be found at These licenses may be vetted by your legal team as well, but since many of these licenses are already found in Red Hat based distributions, it is likely they are already being used.
All of the licenses included in Fedora are considered "free," as that term is used in this standard. This freedom means that any individuals can use this software as is for any purpose including profit. When a recipient of the software wants to alter licensed materials, however, certain restrictions apply. The standard instructs developers and other technical professionals how to remain legally compliant while also ensuring that they do not accidentally give away company trade secrets or other property.

1.2.1. Free Software Benefits

A major point worth mentioning about the adoption of this standard is its effect on your employees or coworkers. The free software standard causes your engineers, developers and architects to become involved with the larger free and open source software community. The direct benefit of this involvement is not having to maintain patches and source code changes internally. If your company finds a bug in a piece of software and fixes it, you are not required to fix future versions of the software. While you might view this as "work benefiting the many," there is also a strong argument to be made for doing work to benefit yourself.
The indirect benefits of getting your company involved in doing free software and being part of the larger community is the larger pool of expertise. In the closed source business model, cross company communication is rare. For example, a bank and a large manufacturer may both need supporting infrastructure like websites and email servers. In the closed source model there is no real mechanism for them to contact one another regarding these needs. In the open source model they can. By participating with the upstream projects, they meet others doing nearly identical work on systems unrelated to any competitive or differentiating business function. Thus, they can communicate and learn from each other's experiences. Being able to learn from and avoid the mistakes of others produces huge cost savings in a business environment, such as learning something won't work before you've purchased a million dollars in hardare.