Is openSUSE a "libre" distribution? If not, how can I "libre" it?

I would like to become a new user of openSUSE (I have to admit that I am evaluating Fedora too).
I read with the greatest interest this thread:
For me, it is critical to run a Linux distribution composed only by “libre” software. My goal is to run a version of openSUSE composed only by “libre” software, without having to check every single package before its installation.
My question is: is it possible to run openSUSE only with such “libre” software?
I mean: is there software to avoid (beside the Non-OSS Repository) in order to obtain a “libre” openSUSE? Is the Linux Kernel (-default) “libre” or does it contain software which does not have its source available?
Thank you in advance

All in the OSS repo, including the kernels, are “open”. The name openSUSE says it all.

Exceptions may be needed depending on your hardware. Video may need a binary blob from the manufacturer for full usage though the OS drivers are pretty good some hardware is more problematic then others. WiFi drivers may again require binary blobs depending on the manufacturer. Other hardware may need special drivers also but Wifi and Video are the two biggies.

Can you live without closed source. Yes but you may have to live with low resolution and no WiFi. openSUSE repositories are 100% open source but extra repos ar provided for some special needs.

Multi-media codecs are I think opensource but many are encumbered by patents which can have legal problems if you distribute so those live in the packman repo

Thank you for your answers.

“All in the OSS repo, including the kernels, are “open””. Excellent!

“openSUSE repositories are 100% open source”. Excellent!
For what I can see ( it seems that openSUSE takes care of those patents issues. Am I right or am I wrong?

No, it is not openSUSE, it is Packman.

In other words, those patent issues are not a real issue because openSUSE does not contain them, because Packman is a third-party repository?

Yes, that is the case. (Where such patents have expired they may be found in OSS though as is recently the case with some codecs.)

Thank you for you clarification. It is very interesting indeed that software patents could be less problematic in openSUSE than in other distributions because of its approach.
Now I understand openSUSE better than before.
Thanks to all of you for your help.

It should probably be noted that we assume your use of “libre” implies <completely> publicly licensed and <unrestricted> use according to widely recognized liberal licensing like the GPLs.

If a person was comfortable using software that has some kind of restrictions (commonly but not restricted to some copying/distribution rights and limits of use), then that is why it’s still possible to use software from Packman freely and without paying fees. But, typically this software is available on an Honor System, if your use or wish to copy/distribute does not comply with the included agreements, you are obligated to pay fees.

But, assuming the above definition of “libre” then everything in the OSS complies with that.


And as an explanation you might consider that openSUSE has owners/sponsors that do have some money. Thus parties that think their rights are violated may try to sue them and ask for compensation.

Packman can at the most traced back to some individuals where you could claim money from, with only little chance to get some, because they haven’t the millions claimed.

According to Richard Stallman “open source” does not necessarily equal “free software”:

BTW there was an older thread about this:

Thank you, I quoted the second link you provided in my first post.

I have another question: what about kernel-firmware package ( Does it provide binary firmwares?