Article: "Fixing linux" - opinions?

Rui Miguel Silva Seabra rms at
Sat Dec 13 00:39:55 UTC 2008

On Sat, Dec 13, 2008 at 12:31:08AM +0000, Noah Slater wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 13, 2008 at 12:12:35AM +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> > > Erm, what? Firstly, GNU/Linux isn't a single bit of software, it's the name of a
> > > computing platform, so I'm not sure how your analogy holds. Firefox is non-free
> > > because you cannot modify the artwork and must seek permission if you intend to
> > > distribute it under the name Firefox.
> >
> > Remember that trademark is ortogonal to copyright.
> I am well aware of this. Because they will not let you use the artwork or name
> without permission, and because you cannot modify the artwork, the interlinking
> of trademark law and copyright law mean that Firefox is non-free by default.

Yes, you can modify the artwork. In a high level summary, if you change
the artwork or some features, you can't call it firefox.

What does that have to do with:
 1. running the program for any purpose
 2. being able to study and modify it
 3. being able to distribute copies
 4. being able to distribute modified copies?

All of those are allowed, so it is Free Software. You just can't *call*
it Firefox, but being able to call the program whatever you want is not
one of the software freedoms.


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+ So let's do it...?

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