LinuxQuestions.org
Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Software
User Name
Password
Linux - Software This forum is for Software issues.
Having a problem installing a new program? Want to know which application is best for the job? Post your question in this forum.

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 03-16-2017, 12:34 PM   #1
dcs.79c
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Mar 2017
Posts: 21

Rep: Reputation: 0
Proprietary versus non-proprietary software


I'm new to Linux. I come from a Windows & Mac background. This is my 1st foray into Linux.

I've spent hours on YouTube & Wikipedia & Google learning more & more about Linux. I've decided that I want an Ubuntu-based distro of Linux.

I'm a bit confused about proprietary versus non-proprietary software in Linux.

I know that proprietary software means that it is copyrighted, trademarked, etc., like Adobe or Libre Office.

I also know that some distros of Linux don't allow proprietary software at all. I want to be able to install proprietary software. I would think that that would narrow down my choices considerably. If a distro allows proprietary software to be installed, does that mean that I can install Libre Office & printer drivers for my Brother printer & video card drivers, etc. without hunting for an Ubuntu-equivalent substitute?
 
Old 03-16-2017, 12:41 PM   #2
TB0ne
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Distribution: SuSE, RedHat, Slack,CentOS
Posts: 23,815

Rep: Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974Reputation: 6974
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
I'm new to Linux. I come from a Windows & Mac background. This is my 1st foray into Linux.
I've spent hours on YouTube & Wikipedia & Google learning more & more about Linux. I've decided that I want an Ubuntu-based distro of Linux.

I'm a bit confused about proprietary versus non-proprietary software in Linux.

I know that proprietary software means that it is copyrighted, trademarked, etc., like Adobe or Libre Office.

I also know that some distros of Linux don't allow proprietary software at all. I want to be able to install proprietary software. I would think that that would narrow down my choices considerably. If a distro allows proprietary software to be installed, does that mean that I can install Libre Office & printer drivers for my Brother printer & video card drivers, etc. without hunting for an Ubuntu-equivalent substitute?
Incorrect...Linux doesn't 'disallow' ANYTHING. If the software is written for Linux, it runs on ANY version of Linux. That said, your typical software system requirements come into play, as they do with Windows/Mac. For example, if you are running Mac OSX Yosemite and the software you purchase is for Sierra...it won't work, will it? Or try to load a program for Windows 98 onto Windows 10...chances are, it'll die.

Proprietary software means it's closed source, nothing else. You can have proprietary and FREE, too...the nVidia graphics drivers are one example. Closed-source, but works just fine on any Linux and is totally free. If you really HAVE spent hours on Google, you should already know that Libreoffice is also totally free, and runs on any version of Linux, and most printers won't give you problems either. Again, there may be closed-source drivers, but it should work fine, if the open source ones don't. My suggestion to you would be the latest Mint...Ubuntu based (and it really doesn't matter if it's Ubuntu/Debian based, or RPM/Red Hat based...they all work together), and very easy for a brand new user. Chances are all of your hardware will 'just work', unless you have something very specialized/old/new.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-16-2017, 12:45 PM   #3
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 7,585

Rep: Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351
Most Linux distributions will allow the installation of proprietary software. Some, like Debian (upon which Ubuntu is based) have repositories of non-free software which can be enabled at install time. ubuntu will allow th use of non-free video drivers and printer drivers (if it has them) from its repositories and will allow non-free software to be installed from elsewhere also.
Libre Office, as it's name may suggest, is free (open source, if you will) software.
 
Old 03-16-2017, 02:17 PM   #4
RadicalDreamer
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2016
Location: USA
Distribution: Slackware64-Current
Posts: 1,436

Rep: Reputation: 716Reputation: 716Reputation: 716Reputation: 716Reputation: 716Reputation: 716Reputation: 716
Brother, AMD, and NVIDIA have proprietary drivers available for Linux. Just go to their site and find the drivers for your hardware if the Linux repository you use doesn't have them. Also you can get a lot of windows programs working with wine and winetricks (I use the PlayOnLinux front end for this). SteamOS also has proprietary programs that are run on Linux natively.

The big difference between proprietary and non-proprietary is that the license is more restrictive. The non-proprietary licenses range from taking stuff to put into software proprietary for free (BSD) to having to release the source code (GPL).
 
Old 03-16-2017, 02:22 PM   #5
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 7,585

Rep: Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351Reputation: 2351
Oh, I forgot about Steam entirely! steam is in the Debian (and Ubuntu) repositories (though may need the non-free to be activated) and has a good many non-free games available.
 
Old 03-16-2017, 02:33 PM   #6
Turbocapitalist
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Apr 2005
Distribution: Linux Mint, Devuan, OpenBSD
Posts: 5,614
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860Reputation: 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs.79c View Post
I know that proprietary software means that it is copyrighted, trademarked, etc., like Adobe or Libre Office.
Just two points of clarification to add: Free / Libre Open Source Software is only possible because of copyright and it can and does make occasional use of trademarks.

In the case of copyright, see the list of licenses that define whether software is free and open source. Your choice of license depends on what you want to do with the software. Some software without copyright is usually called public domain, and that is something totally different. In fact public domain may not even exist in some countries. However, public domain (software without copyright) is different than software that is simply without a copyright notice. Just to complicate things the former needs no copyright notice and the latter, by virtue of the default set by the Berne Convention, is proprietary because it has no copyright notice saying otherwise. With public domain you can do anything you want with it. With copyrighted, it depends on what the license grants permissions to do, that includes FOSS which is copyrighted.

About trademarks, they are completely independent of copyright. Linux, Firefox, Ubuntu, and LibreOffice all have trademarks, to name some popular examples.

Last edited by Turbocapitalist; 03-16-2017 at 02:40 PM. Reason: ubuntu
 
Old 03-16-2017, 04:09 PM   #7
sundialsvcs
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: SE Tennessee, USA
Distribution: Gentoo, LFS
Posts: 9,148
Blog Entries: 4

Rep: Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232Reputation: 3232
The only piece of software that I know of that is in the public domain is SQLite. Their web site contains many pages carefully explaining how and why they did it, and what they do to maintain the public domain position.

As far as "proprietary vs. open source" is concerned, I have no problem paying money for "the best tool for the job," whatever that may be. I've sold a software product for more than twenty years now, myself.
 
Old 03-16-2017, 05:59 PM   #8
X-LFS-2010
Member
 
Registered: Apr 2016
Posts: 510

Rep: Reputation: 58
your not unfamiliar with starting rant threads! but i'll say no more i tend to get blocked responding to them
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-17-2017, 01:09 PM   #9
DavidMcCann
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: London
Distribution: PCLinuxOS, Debian
Posts: 5,773

Rep: Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133Reputation: 2133
If your video card needs a proprietary driver (and open source ones will often suffice), there should be no problem:
http://help.ubuntu.com/community/VideoDriverHowto

You can find a driver for your Brother printer from their website
http://support.brother.com/g/b/index...autojudge=true

LibreOffice will be installed. For some idea of the commonly available software and the Linux equivalents to well-known Windows and Mac software
http://linuxappfinder.com/
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
proprietary software?? leedude Linux - General 14 12-09-2007 10:25 PM
Proprietary Software In Linux macpcperson Linux - General 5 12-10-2006 04:49 PM
Rant: Proprietary Software browny_amiga General 30 09-18-2006 03:36 PM
LXer: Declare your independence from proprietary software (Or how to break the habit of proprietary software) LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 07-05-2006 01:54 PM
Proprietary Software Issues Skyline General 2 10-15-2003 11:15 PM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Software

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:19 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration