This manual describes certain legal and technical policy requirements that apply to all software included in this distribution.
This manual does not describe practices for making source or binary packages. Nor does it describe any aspects of the operating system as a whole, including the filesystem hierarchy, system users, file modes, or service scripts.
These requirements ensure that each package may be distributed individually or as part of a complete operating system, with or without charge, by anyone. This means that hosts of package archive mirrors are legally allowed to distribute copies of the packages in the distribution. It means that commercial vendors are legally allowed to distribute copies of this operating system, in whole or in part, in their products. It also means that users who receive copies of this operating system or its packages are legally allowed to redistribute copies of the software they possess.
These requirements ensure that users and vendors have certain rights in the software they use and distribute. Specifically, for each software package in the distribution, users and vendors have the right to use the software for any purpose, the right to study and modify the software, and the right to distribute copies – modified or unmodified – of the software.
For more information on software freedom and the rights of users and distributors of free, libre, and open-source software, see the Free Software Definition.
These requirements ensure that distribution maintainers are able to effectively support the software packages for which they are responsible. Specifically, maintainers are able to study and modify their packages in order to support users and resolve technical issues in the software.