Change for Caldera OpenLinux Workstation

Georg C. F. Greve greve at
Wed Jun 27 17:45:40 UTC 2001

Hi all,

 || On Wed, 27 Jun 2001 18:43:17 +0200
 || Loic Dachary <loic at> wrote: 

 ld> Caldera has changed the license on its OpenLinux Workstation
 ld> product for the newest version (3.1) to require one license per
 ld> system the distribution is installed on. The company will provide
 ld> a certificate

 || On 27 Jun 2001 19:04:07 +0200
 || Werner Koch <wk at> wrote: 

 wk> I don't see a difference between SuSE and Caldera.  Both are
 wk> selling freedom subtracted GNU/Linux systems.  SuSE just allows
 wk> for verbatim copies if you don't take money for it; this is
 wk> freeware and not Free Software.  So Caldera now switched to take
 wk> money - Microsoft could do the same with their Internet Exploder
 wk> at any time.

Yes, this is essentially correct. 

But other than the SuSE thing this has raised a lot of publicity
already and will potentially raise even more. We should use this
opportunity to explain to the public that this is a bad thing. 

If things go well we may even point out that SuSE is doing something
very similar once the public wrath is coming down on Caldera (as I
think it should).

 ld> What kind of coordinated action can be done ? 

I believe we should encourage people to buy different GNU/Linux
distributions and raise our voices. Also we should encourage others to
raise their voices.

Below you'll find my reply to some questions Pia Heikkila had for in case you're interested.


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Hi Pia,

 || On Wed, 27 Jun 2001 17:21:17 +0100
 || Pia Heikkila <PHeikkila at> wrote: 

 ph> I am a technology journalist and interested in talking to one of
 ph> you about software licenses. 

We'll be glad to help you any way we can.

 ph> Here are my questions:
 ph> Caldera recently announced it will be charging per seat for their
 ph> product.  It might not breach the GPL but how will the community
 ph> react?  

It is usually hard to guess how the community reacts although I
certainly hope they will be upset and let Caldera know this. If
Caldera keeps it up, I certainly believe they should prefer products
of other companies that do not act against the spirit of our

Although Caldera claims not to be parasitic but simply economic, this
step shows that they have clearly not yet understood the Free Software
movement and philosophy. 

Many people may misunderstand the last paragraph, so let me make clear
that we are not against commercial use of Free Software. The GPL has
deliberately been written in a way that Free Software can even be

But taking away the users' freedoms, as Caldera is doing it in this
case, is a step back in digital evolution by about 10 years. 

I'm not saying Caldera is necessarily mean-spirited or evil, they may
just be ill-informed. If Caldera is interested to learn how they can
harmonize their business model with Free Software, we will gladly help
them to do so just as we'd help everyone else along this road.

But we should not forget that regardless of the motivation this is a
very bad development and motivation really doesn't change the result.

The result in this case is that Caldera is violating the spirit of the
community and hurts the giants it is standing on by claiming it was
one of them. This should not be tolerated.

 ph> What about other Open Source software providers? 

I am aware that you are using "Open Source" as a synonym for Free
Software here, I would still like to ask you to prefer the term Free

Experience shows that the term Open Source is not only more misleading
than Free Software, it is also based on a definition with holes and

A movement can only be as strong as the definition it is based on, so
we reommend using the term Free Software or the equivalent term in the
local languages.

To come back to your question: I know several companies that have
understood Free Software, so I'm quite certain they would not do such
a thing.

As for the ones not yet understanding the Free Software philosophy and
business models, who may be tempted to do try similar; I ask them to
get in touch with us first, so we get the chance to offer alternatives
to them and explain how money can be made without breaking the circle
of cooperation.

 ph> Do you they will go down the same route too? 

Was this intended to contain "think" or "fear?" :)

 ph> Is Caldera's only objective to make money just like everyone else
 ph> or championing the case for free software by proving the business
 ph> case?

Caldera is certainly not "championing the case for free software" as
you put it, since they make their money from proprietarizing their
product. They have made the step back to being a proprietary software
company just like Microsoft. 

The fact that they have some lines of Free Software in there doesn't
make them a Free Software company. Otherwise we'd have to say that
Microsoft was "championing the case for free software" because they
are using many lines of FreeBSD code and even ship GPL'ed software to
make the transition to Windows easier for some people.

Caldera may be having a few more lines of Free Software in it's
product than Microsoft, but that's really the only difference.

 ph> I would really appreciate your answers. I know I might not get
 ph> this to you on time as my deadline is tomorrow.

I gave it a high priority and replied right away. Hope it helps. If
you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

 ph> But in the future, could you email me with any announcements you
 ph> may have regarding your organization.

We do have two mailing lists you may want to subscribe to. One is the
"announcement" list and the other one is for press releases. You'll
find both on


Georg Greve
FSF Europe, President

Georg C. F. Greve                                 <greve at>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (
GNU Business Network                        (
Brave GNU World	                           (

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