#411 Policy proposal: formalizing Fedora's open source requirements
Opened 6 months ago by mattdm. Modified 6 months ago

I'm working with Fedora Legal (@ref and @jlovejoy hello!) in updating licensing documentation, and other associated Fedora legal stuff. One page of interest is https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Forbidden_items.

A lot of this is rather obsolete — I don't think we need to specifically call out RealPlayer or Adobe Flash anymore. So the plan is to drop that from the new docs. But, some of the top-of-the-page material is useful and should be recorded somewhere. Specifically:

The Fedora Project strongly encourages using free and open source software. Fedora has licensing guidelines that enforce the following requirements:

  • If it is proprietary, it cannot be included in Fedora. (Binary firmware is the only exception to this)
  • If it is legally encumbered, it cannot be included in Fedora.
  • If it violates United States laws (specifically, Federal or applicable state laws), it cannot be included in Fedora.

and maybe also some of

Third party repositories often have more liberal licensing policies and contain software that has been excluded from the official Fedora software repository for various reasons. You can also find community support via Ask Fedora and use a search engine like Google to look for additional help. The proprietary software and drivers discussed may be available from the respective owners and other vendors. Fedora Project instead highly recommends that you support the right vendors and get hardware that can work with completely free and open source software and not restricted by Software Patents and other legal encumbrances.

"We must follow the law" doesn't really seem like it needs to be written as a policy, but it probably is worth explaining. And, sure, that part is legal.

But the first part "If it is proprietary, it cannot be included in Fedora. (Binary firmware is the only exception to this" is not a legal requirement. We could (but, um, clearly will not) choose to start shipping proprietary software which is licensed in a way that lets us redistribute it. It's our policy choice that informs the license rules.

Let's document that as a Council Policy.

Would someone like to volunteer to draft a new page?


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