Commercial Software (was: Re: Nokia spreading FUD?)

simo idra at
Tue Mar 15 13:36:15 UTC 2011

On Tue, 2011-03-15 at 12:55 +0000, Alex Hudson wrote:
> On Tue, 2011-03-15 at 08:37 -0400, simo wrote:
> > On Tue, 2011-03-15 at 08:02 +0000, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > > I would struggle to label most free software as commercial on that
> > > basis. RHEL would be an example I suppose, but I wouldn't call Ubuntu
> > > commercial.
> > 
> > They sell support contract for Ubuntu, why not ?
> Because the support contract is the commercial good. When I say
> "commercial software" I'm referring to the software.

I guess you have to define what you mean then, is shareware/freeware
commercial ? Is a demo commercial ? Is proprietary software normally
sold commercial ? Even when it is donated ? Is it commercial if it is
unlawfully copied ?

> > > Of course commerciality isn't equivalent to non-freedom but it's pretty
> > > indicative and if you used it as a rule of thumb you'd probably be right
> > > 99.999% of the time.
> > 
> > Bollocks.
> Ignoring the language; you honestly think that if we made a list of all
> commercial software available and we picked out, say, 100, it would be
> expected that at least one free software app would be in that pick?

Maybe not entirely made of freesoftware, but probably at least partially
made from free software, but then again, you need to define what you
mean by "commercial software available", because as you define it, I
have no clue what are the boundaries. Given RHEL is offered only after
payment, would you say it is not commercial ? Or do you claim it is not
Free Software ?

> If that's what you believe, fine. 

Yes, this is the problem, we are discussing on what people believe as
there isn't a standardized definition of commercial software. Its
meaning is very fuzzy and can vary greatly depending on who you talk to.


Simo Sorce
Samba Team GPL Compliance Officer <simo at>
Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat, Inc. <simo at>

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