licenses – play of words ?

A friend of mine believes that the different licenses used by M$, RH and other companies are just a play of words. That when you distribute OSs, its piracy regardless of their licenses, because you (or rather, the person who is taking it from you) are not buying it from the original vendors. He moves around with RHEL 3 – which he uses at home – and I believe thats piracy. RH allows non-commercial redistribution of RHEL, but with its logos removed. There are conflicts on whether RHEL is open source. Besides, I believe RH may allow its enterprise linux OSs to be spread once they are stripped of its trademarks and logos; but the installation of RHEL on multiple machines the way my friend is doing, by spreading his copy of RHEL may be construed as a violation of its license. As far as I know, the only way I can get a RHEL branded CD is by buying it from RH.

As for his opinion that GPL is crap – that the way I or other linux users spread linux is actually, truly a form of piracy no different from M$ piracy, I refer the nay-sayers to GPL, BSD license and MPL. Also the OSI site has a repository of different licenses which say the same basic thing – you are free to see the source and spread the software. So maybe you people will be informed on why copying linux is not piracy. And I don’t mean RHEL.

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