29 May 2010

Extra Credit Paper: Linux - GNU GPL FSF


Extra Credit Paper
GNU GPL by the FSF

Matthew J. Banks

CINT 201: Linux Fundamentals
May, 2010

Extra Credit Paper: GNU GPL by the FSF

What is free software?

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) describes ‘free software’, as a source of computer liberation by allowing productive accessibility, without restrictions. To have and use software for any purpose at the discretion of the user, the inherent ability to change said software to suit one self’s needs to conduct a desired outcome, and most importantly the inhibited ability to openly share altered and original software without aversion with anyone possible.

The freedom describes the ability to do so for any purpose, educational or scientific, a permanent availability of source code, and redistribution rights of original and modified content. Changes made in private use not intended designed or actually redistributed, is allowable in any environment, without repercussion from copyright infringement. Open source operability is scalable for any intention without requirement of status notices communicated with original developers with any and every protection therein applicable to any recipient without imposition. (GNU.ORG, 2010)

To be included are the “binary or executable forms of the program, as well as source code, for both modified and unmodified versions.” if applicable within the confines of a specific programming language. (GNU.ORG, 2010)

What does the term 'copy-left' mean?

Software that is under copyright, is protected by a means of alteration rights, privileges and specific actions of distribution as to allow credit where it is deserved in the instance of kernel alterations, adversely protecting the rights of the user to maintain the open source architecture in the way restriction protects unalterable programs, allowing freedom to alter source code.

Programs modified, extended and altered in any fashion are successively free for distribution, without copyrights existing in public domain allowing shared improvement, just as equally giving the right to saboteurs or competitive individuals to revamp a program until creating proprietary software. In such the case of proprietary software, users have a legal inability to alter the software under the protection of copyright.

The intention of a ‘copy-left’ is to share the liberty of code alteration, of GNU software, in the instances of educational and security development, as well as the lesser application of proprietary software developed for case specific scenarios. Though the heritage of a code may change with changes made by developers, the lineage remains the same, the freedom to continue replications and alterations for each generation of a code.

Contributed improvements provide an incentive for continued development, often primarily because the improved software distribution is free of proprietary copyright in accordance with the GPL. An employer usually chooses to publish the new and improved software rather than throwing it away, giving the vendor the opportunity to profit from technical support and earn a reputation as productive contributors to successful programming, such as with a multitude of Linux distributions.

What is the purpose of the GPL?

The GPL serves the purpose to maintain a proactive defense of users’ ‘copy-left’, maintaining an aversion to detrimental deconstruction or compartmentalization of the rights of source code developers from Tivoization, legal software distribution prohibitions and unfair and discriminatory patent deal that would monopolize any aspect pertinent to user access and a programs progress and development. Overall, the GPL acts as protection of user rights from hardware, litigious and legacy monopolies.

How does the GPL make sure software stays 'free software'?

The GNU General Public License (GPL) ensures the continuation of the ‘free software’ cycle by making it so that “Developers who write software can release it under the terms of the GNU GPL. When they do, it will be free software and stay free software, no matter who changes or distributes the program.” (GNU.ORG, 2010)

What is 'Tivoization' and how does it relate to 'free software'?

Tivoization is a discriminatory act by vendors often in tandem with large software companies to monopolize a market by using vendor specific hardware designed to allow only the hardware manufacturers to change software in current systems as well as inevitably run third-party privacy invasion that thwarts a user from fully utilizing a workstation at their own discretion.

What are some differences between the GPLv2 and the GPLv3?

Improvements that have come with the new GPLv3 slightly differ. Most readily addressable is a newer and more concise license made for a wider audience to understand the intentions, purpose and restrictions, or lack thereof, of GNU GPLv3, in the aspect of utilization by users and developers. Specifically GPLv3 allows scripting of any variation of code. Digital restrictions code can be openly developed and distributed by GPL, to protect distribution effects, but if code is developed to circumvent protections, then no legal actions can be taken against the writer of that code, not stifling innovation of scripting, just allowing the diversion of current restrictions. It also maintains a mandate that procedures to adjust and install firmware be openly available to the public, through a haze of cryptographic barriers and the availability of a current GPL code in need of alteration. Version 3 also requires that GPL code be verified GPL or be vulnerable to copyright. (GNU.ORG, 2010)

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