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Re: Developing free non-gnu operating systems

From: Theodore Somers
Subject: Re: Developing free non-gnu operating systems
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2021 12:25:21 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/78.13.0

On 8/30/21 9:11 AM, Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli wrote:
On Sat, 28 Aug 2021 20:34:41 -0700
Theodore Somers <> wrote:

By only serving the GNU system (mostly in the form of GNU/Linux), the
directory [here it refers to the free software directory] is
effectively discouraging the development of other potential fully
free/libre operating systems.
While I think that it would be a good thing to be able to use the
directory for more things than just software that runs on GNU/Linux if
it doesn't increase the work of current contributors / maintainers, I
don't think that the directory itself has a huge impact on the
development of FSDG compliant distributions and/or operating systems.

Though the opposite might be true: the fact that Replicant exists and
that it's FSDG compliant seems to at least have some influence on the
discussions about adding applications that don't run on GNU/Linux or
GNU/Hurd in the directory.

In any case I think that it's a good idea to have more FSDG
distributions and operating systems in order to cover more use cases,
especially the ones that are currently covered by non-FSDG
distributions / operating systems and that are not yet covered by the
FSDG ones.

The FSF as a whole also mostly promotes the GNU system and doesn't
encourage development outside of that and replicant.
Long time ago, ReactOS was in the list of operating systems that were
FSDG compliant. However, at some point, it was found that they provided
nonfree software in their package manager system.

The discussions about that where a bit complicated because their
package manager didn't work in the same way than GNU/Linux package
manager do, so that did lead some incomprehension along the way.

That leaves out other paradigms for how an OS could work outside of
the traditional unix and unix-like abstraction/paradigm. That leaves
out a lot of potential design space. It could also be easier for
users of OSes that are not unix-like to migrate to a fully free OS if
thereĀ  was one more similar to their old OS in how it functioned.
I think also having FSDG compliant distributions and OS would help with

For instance with HURD (that has a different design than GNU/Linux), we
already have 1 FSDG compliant distribution (Guix) that has support for
HURD alongside GNU/Linux, in the exact same branch, manuals,
repositories, etc. Though HURD is currently experimental in Guix.

It might also be interesting to have some FSDG certification for
different execution environments too. For instance software like
Libreboot can run programs through GRUB and also have strong freedom
commitment. This could probably fit well in a "Small non-GNU distros"
category, especially because they are not self-hosted.

Programming languages also have package managers nowadays, so it might
be a good idea to also have FSDG compliant languages packages managers
and repositories as this way it would put the burden on the community
maintaining these package managers instead of duplicating that work in
every FSDG distributions packaging them.

How is the ReactOs package manager different from package managers on unix-like systems?

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