If you want to have more free software a few years from now, it makes sense for you to help encourage people to contribute funds for its development. The most effective approach known is to encourage commercial redistributors to donate.
Users of free software systems can boost the pace of development by encouraging for-a-fee distributors to donate part of their selling price to free software developers--the Free Software Foundation, and others.
The way to convince distributors to do this is to demand it and expect it from them. So when you compare distributors, judge them partly by how much they give to free software development. Show distributors they must compete to be the one who gives the most.
To make this approach work, you must insist on numbers that you can compare, such as, "We will donate ten dollars to the Frobnitz project for each disk sold." Don't be satisfied with a vague promise, such as "A portion of the profits are donated," since it doesn't give a basis for comparison.
Even a precise fraction "of the profits from this disk" is not very meaningful, since creative accounting and unrelated business decisions can greatly alter what fraction of the sales price counts as profit. If the price you pay is $50, ten percent of the profit is probably less than a dollar; it might be a few cents, or nothing at all.
Some redistributors do development work themselves. This is useful too; but to keep everyone honest, you need to inquire how much they do, and what kind. Some kinds of development make much more long-term difference than others. For example, maintaining a separate version of a program contributes very little; maintaining the standard version of a program for the whole community contributes much. Easy new ports contribute little, since someone else would surely do them; difficult ports such as adding a new CPU to GCC contribute more; major new features or packages contribute the most.
By establishing the idea that supporting further development is "the proper thing to do" when distributing free software for a fee, we can assure a steady flow of resources into making more free software.
Copyright (C) 1994 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Verbatim copying and redistribution of this section is permitted without royalty; alteration is not permitted.
Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is more often known as "Linux", and many users are not aware of the extent of its connection with the GNU Project.
There really is a Linux; it is a kernel, and these people are using it. But you can't use a kernel by itself; a kernel is useful only as part of a whole system. The system in which Linux is typically used is a modified variant of the GNU system--in other words, a Linux-based GNU system.
Many users are not fully aware of the distinction between the kernel, which is Linux, and the whole system, which they also call "Linux". The ambiguous use of the name doesn't promote understanding.
Programmers generally know that Linux is a kernel. But since they have generally heard the whole system called "Linux" as well, they often envisage a history which fits that name. For example, many believe that once Linus Torvalds finished writing the kernel, his friends looked around for other free software, and for no particular reason most everything necessary to make a Unix-like system was already available.
What they found was no accident--it was the GNU system. The available free software added up to a complete system because the GNU Project had been working since 1984 to make one. The GNU Manifesto had set forth the goal of developing a free Unix-like system, called GNU. By the time Linux was written, the system was almost finished.
Most free software projects have the goal of developing a particular program for a particular job. For example, Linus Torvalds set out to write a Unix-like kernel (Linux); Donald Knuth set out to write a text formatter (TeX); Bob Scheifler set out to develop a window system (X Windows). It's natural to measure the contribution of this kind of project by specific programs that came from the project.
If we tried to measure the GNU Project's contribution in this way, what would we conclude? One CD-ROM vendor found that in their "Linux distribution", GNU software was the largest single contingent, around 28% of the total source code, and this included some of the essential major components without which there could be no system. Linux itself was about 3%. So if you were going to pick a name for the system based on who wrote the programs in the system, the most appropriate single choice would be "GNU".
But we don't think that is the right way to consider the question. The GNU Project was not, is not, a project to develop specific software packages. It was not a project to develop a C compiler, although we did. It was not a project to develop a text editor, although we developed one. The GNU Project's aim was to develop a complete free Unix-like system.
Many people have made major contributions to the free software in the system, and they all deserve credit. But the reason it is a system---and not just a collection of useful programs--is because the GNU Project set out to make it one. We wrote the programs that were needed to make a complete free system. We wrote essential but unexciting major components, such as the assembler and linker, because you can't have a system without them. A complete system needs more than just programming tools, so we wrote other components as well, such as the Bourne Again SHell, the PostScript interpreter Ghostscript, and the GNU C library.
By the early 90s we had put together the whole system aside from the kernel (and we were also working on a kernel, the GNU Hurd, which runs on top of Mach). Developing this kernel has been a lot harder than we expected, and we are still working on finishing it.
Fortunately, you don't have to wait for it, because Linux is working now. When Linus Torvalds wrote Linux, he filled the last major gap. People could then put Linux together with the GNU system to make a complete free system: a Linux-based GNU system (or GNU/Linux system, for short).
Putting them together sounds simple, but it was not a trivial job. The GNU C library (called glibc for short) needed substantial changes. Integrating a complete system as a distribution that would work "out of the box" was a big job, too. It required addressing the issue of how to install and boot the system--a problem we had not tackled, because we hadn't yet reached that point. The people who developed the various system distributions made a substantial contribution.
The GNU Project supports GNU/Linux systems as well as the GNU system--even with funds. We funded the rewriting of the Linux-related extensions to the GNU C library, so that now they are well integrated, and the newest GNU/Linux systems use the current library release with no changes. We also funded an early stage of the development of Debian GNU/Linux.
We use Linux-based GNU systems today for most of our work, and we hope you use them too. But please don't confuse the public by using the name "Linux" ambiguously. Linux is the kernel, one of the essential major components of the system. The system as a whole is more or less the GNU system.
Version 2, June 1991
Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.
When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.
For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.
We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.
Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free software. If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we want its recipients to know that what they have is not the original, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors' reputations.
Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.
The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification follow.
If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.
To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.
one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does. Copyright (C) yyyy name of author This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.
Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.
If the program is interactive, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:
Gnomovision version 69, Copyright (C) yyyy name of author Gnomovision comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.
The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, the commands you use may be called something other than `show w' and `show c'; they could even be mouse-clicks or menu items--whatever suits your program.
You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or your school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if necessary. Here is a sample; alter the names:
Yoyodyne, Inc., hereby disclaims all copyright interest in the program `Gnomovision' (which makes passes at compilers) written by James Hacker. signature of Ty Coon, 1 April 1989 Ty Coon, President of Vice
This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.
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