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ibiblio Archive Mission

1. The ibiblio archive is dedicated to Linux and Open Source Software ideals.

The ibiblio archive exists to support the Linux and Open Source communities. Anything that makes your experiences in computing more powerful and/or more pleasant is of interest to us. Conversely, we're not interested in hosting proprietary resources here, unless they are directly tied to configuring, supporting, or enhancing Linux and Open Source in some way.

2. Our mission is to help Linux evolve faster and spread further.

This archive's core constituency is people who do not merely use Linux and Open Source software but actively seek to improve it. We'd like to have four billion users who never have to tinker with Linux or Open Source software someday, but in order for that to happen we have to build the largest and most effective possible hacker support community first. Thus we want to speed the evolution of computing so it improves as quickly as possible. The Linux, GNU and Open Source experience seems to show that even very complex software is most rapidly debugged by throwing it in front of a lot of savvy users. Therefore, we encourage developers to upload their newest versions of software even if they're not yet perfectly stable. (If you want to upload two versions, one marked "production" and one "bleeding-edge", that's fine, and in fact a very good idea.)

To help Open Source software spread faster, we make the site as friendly as we can to to non-technical users without compromising our usefulness to developers.

3. The archive is primarily for redistributing freeware sources.

Software evolves fastest when it's freeware and available in source so that anyone can hack with it. Therefore we honor the GNU and Linux traditions of encouraging freeware source sharing, and discouraging more restrictive kinds of licensing and packaging.

Accordingly, we will cheerfully accept `convenience build' binaries submitted with redistributable sources, but binaries without sources, or sources that are not open to all to see, are not as welcome. These may be rejected on submission, and in some cases may be dropped entirely when a true freeware alternative develops.

There are limited exceptions to this rule:

Sources with a license restricting use or redistribution to `noncommercial' or `nonprofit' use may be carried if they are already either very well established and popular, or fill a function not served by any true freeware. Linux binaries of very well-known Unix freeware may be carried with a pointer back to the source site. Demo binaries of Linux ports of well-known commercial software may be carried if those binaries are freely redistributable.

But in general, we dislike restrictions on free redistribution, whether they're commercial or anti-commercial in nature. Besides preventing some users from getting having the richest choice of tools. non-freeware gives us practical problems, too. It complicates life for commercial Linux and Open Source CD-ROM makers using ibiblio, a group we want to encourage.

4. The ibiblio archive is market-friendly.

Besides serving individual Open Source users, the ibiblio archive is also meant to be be a resource for people who press inexpensive Linux and Open Source CD-ROMs. We think this is a good thing, because it spreads Open Source software much faster than pure network distribution possibly can. It also creates market incentives for people to support Linux and Open Source software as a full-time job, something we think is essential if we want to succeed at waking the world up from proprietary nightmares.

Making the ibiblio archive available to CD-ROM distributors for free lowers the barriers to entry in the Linux and Open Source industry. It thereby promotes healthy competition, prevents any one vendor from locking up the commercial market, and frees up vendor capital to be spent on support and enhancements. We consider these worthy goals in themselves.

Some hackers think the commercial market is nasty and discourages cooperation; they look down on commercial Linux vendors. We disagree, and we think the Linux and Open Source experience is proving our point. The free market is a wonderful device for cooperation, and we say there is no point in fighting it when it's so much easier (and so much more fun) to co-opt it.

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