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2.2. Choosing Free Software

All Red Hat compatible distributions ship with thousands of packages. Additional packages can be found via third party repositories. For example, users of CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux can optionally add the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository - http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL. The use of any of these packages has already been vetted from a licensing point of view.
Any package that ships with the distribution is typically legally vetted and ok to use for any purposes you see fit. Fedora in particular has a strict licensing guidelines. This does prevent many applications from being in the operating system. This is both good and bad depending on what you as a user are looking for. A package that has been submitted to Fedora but rejected for legal or licensing reasons may not be safe for The Fedora Project to use. While this is a tough position to be in, it is also a safe position to be in. Especially if you work for a company that has money and can get sued.

2.2.1. Free Software Licensing

There are innumerable potential licenses available for software. Free software in particular has many licensing choices available. Each license has its own benefits and drawbacks, and sometimes licenses are even used together. Keeping licenses straight is a complex job, and as a result, strictly following The Fedora Project's licensing guidelines is recommended. The Fedora Project tracks creation of and changes to free software licenses, and the packages released under these licenses, and takes necessary actions. This set of guidelines is a powerful tool that helps avoid breaking license guidelines. See http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Licensing:Main for the complete listing.

2.2.1.1. Common Mistakes

Most licensing issues arise when one tries to make changes or redistribute packages and code. The easiest way to avoid these issues is to submit all package changes upstream, and ensure that all packages you use are available in your distribution. See Section 2.3, “Making Changes” for more details on these use cases. Another way to avoid these issues is to ensure that any software you write works with the stock packages available from your distribution.

2.2.1.2. Licensing Internal Software

Any and all software written internally should be created under a specific license. Ideally, that license should be a free software license listed in Fedora's licensing matrix. If this is not possbile, pick a sensible license for the software, but ensure that all your software has a license of some kind attached.
This table refers to all content or software written specifically for use by The Fedora Project.
Internal Licensing
CompleteRequirementDescriptionAction
MustSoftware License RequirementAll custom written software must have an associated license.
MustContent License RequirementAll content must have an associated license.
ShouldOpen Source LicenseAll custom written software and content should have a free software compatible license as listed on http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Licensing:Main
MayProprietary LicensesSoftware that has no general purpose, or that contains proprietary information, business secrets, or other private information, may be licensed under a non-free or proprietary license.
Must NotProprietary DependenceService level software (like web applications) must not depend on or link to proprietary software or services to function properly.