[Ilugc] Employee Agreement of a FOSS company

Rahul Sundaram sundaram at fedoraproject.org
Sat Dec 6 07:01:35 IST 2008


Kenneth Gonsalves wrote:

  I was under the wrong impression that all Redhat did
> was package code written by others - and am very impressed with the cygnus 
> story. 

A large amount of code in any distribution in usually written by third 
party developers and packaged by the distribution which primarily acts a 
integration point more than anything else. Packaging is important 
obviously but to consider Red Hat as just a packager wouldn't reflect 
reality. To understand why, it helps to look at the underlying business 
model and to bust another myth as well. Many people think that support 
and services boils down to just hand holding (ie) teach someone how to 
do "stuff" and then argue that if software is good (which it is), it 
wouldn't require such hand holding. One example of such an argument is

http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/08/12/02/2354248.shtml

However that isn't the only value. The cygnus story provides part of the 
real answer. A lot of the code that goes into upstream projects these 
days (esp the prominent components of the stack which really matter) is 
driven by vendors who do it on behalf of the customers which includes 
new features and bug fixes. As long as customers get what they want, 
they don't really care about the fact that others can get it as well. 
The fact that it is free and open source code, makes no real difference 
from that perspective.

As a result of that, Red Hat is the single largest contributor to Linux, 
Xorg and has developed and continues to maintain a large number of core 
components including glibc, coreutils, GTK, D-Bus, HAL, NetworkManager, 
PulseAudio, Avahi, PackageKit ..  you get the idea. If not, take a look 
at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/RedHatContributions

Suffice to say that regardless of any Linux distribution (or even other 
unix/unix-like systems for that matter) you are using, you are relying 
on very significant amount of code developed within Fedora by Red Hat 
and others. None of this is of course, charity. It makes pretty good 
business sense and yes it can be done with just free and open source 
code without waiving the standard "Intellectual property" flag.

Rahul


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