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Re: [Savannah-hackers] Re: Evaluation: OJE

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [Savannah-hackers] Re: Evaluation: OJE
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 23:42:47 -0600 (MDT)

            When a software package is submitted to Savannah I therefore assume
    that it means the author wants it to become a GNU package.

It is clear the author wants that, at least in principle.
But he doesn't know exactly what it means, and he can't
really agree unless he knows what he is agreeing to.
So you need to tell him the explanation.

Here is the explanation that I send.  Could you please send the
same explanation, each time someone tries to register a package?
Ask him, "Is this what you want to do?"

If he says yes, then ask the evaluators to look at his package.
Also tell him that the evaluators are volunteers, and it will
probably take them several weeks at least before they respond.

Calling a program GNU software means that its developers and the GNU
project agree that "This program is part of the GNU project, released
under the aegis of GNU"--and say so in the program.

This means that we normally put the program on (although
we could instead refer to the developer's choice of ftp site) and that
we put the official pages describing the program on the GNU web
server.  (It is ok to have more informal pages about secondary issues,
such as discussion meant for people who want to help develop the
package, on some other site.)

It means that the developers agree to pay some attention to making the
program work well with the rest of the GNU system--and conversely that
the GNU project will encourage other GNU maintainers to pay some
attention to making their programs fit in well with it.

Just what it means to make programs work well together is mainly a
practical matter that depends on what the program does.  But there are
a few general principles.  Certain parts of the GNU coding standards
directly affect the consistency of the whole system.  These include
the standards for configuring and building a program, and the
standards for command-line options.  It is important to make all GNU
programs follow these standards, where they are applicable.

Another important GNU standard is that GNU programs should come with
documentation in Texinfo format.  That is the GNU standard
documentation format, and it can be converted automatically into
various other formats.

If a GNU program wants to be extensible, it should use GUILE
( as the programming
language for extensibility--that is the GNU standard extensibility
package.  If the program doesn't use GUILE today, at least there
should be a firm plan to support it in the future.

A GNU program should use the latest version of a license that the GNU
Project recommends--not just any free software license.

A GNU program should not recommend use of any non-free program, and it
should not refer the user to any non-free documentation for free
software.  The need for free documentation to go with free software is
now a major focus of the GNU project; to show that we are serious
about the need for free documentation, we must not contradict our
position by recommending use of documentation that isn't free.

Occasionally there are issues of terminology which are important for
the success of the GNU project as a whole.  So we expect maintainers
of GNU programs to follow them.  For example, the documentation files
and comments in the program should speak of Linux-based GNU systems or
GNU/Linux systems, rather than calling the whole system "Linux", and
should use the term "free software" rather than "open source".

Deciding that a program is GNU software does not necessarily require
transferring copyright to the FSF; that is a separate question.  If
you transfer the copyright to the FSF, the FSF will enforce the GPL
for the program if someone violates it; if you keep the copyright,
enforcement will be up to you.

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