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Profiting from Free and Open Source Software

  • Arwid LundEmail author
  • Mariano Zukerfeld
Chapter
  • 52 Downloads
Part of the Dynamics of Virtual Work book series (DVW)

Abstract

The Linux distributor Red Hat (acquired by IBM in 2018) makes a lot of money from free software, raking in more profit than its competitor Canonical from the more popular Ubuntu distribution. Ideologically it either conflates free software and open source software, or only speaks about open source and the open source community. The business model depends on four out of five business strategies for Free and open source software (FOSS), taking advantage of the various exceptions and the network loophole in the General Public License (GPL) that allow for several forms of hybrid mixes of open and enclosed software. Additionally, the company’s appropriation of the copyright to the collective work of the Linux distribution from the community is not carried out in the interests of the community, but in the interest of its shareholders and to facilitate the use of trademark law to partially enclose its products. Finally, a potentially open and horizontal community, the Fedora project, which could have distributed the freedoms to act in effective and thereby democratic forms, coordinated by a non-profit foundation, is legally and organizationally subsumed under a hierarchical business structure, through the Fedora Project Council that is legally controlled by Red Hat.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linnaeus UniversityVäxjöSweden
  2. 2.Södertörn UniversityHuddingeSweden
  3. 3.National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)Buenos Aires CityArgentina

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