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Re: [ELPA] new package: tramp-docker

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [ELPA] new package: tramp-docker
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2022 18:03:58 -0400

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  > This code is used to access files in Docker or Podman containers that are
  > running on the same system as Emacs. It calls the Docker or Podman program
  > to spawn a shell inside the container to communicate with. It is similar
  > to the su or sudo Tramp methods, in that the connection to the "remote"
  > system involves shared kernel resources (unless Docker or Podman itself
  > eventually chooses to do something else).

Thanks for explaining.  My overload is such that I just saw this today
-- because I recalled I hadn't seen a reply and decided to search for it.

Now I understand what this is does, and it will be a convenient
feature.  But it raises a couple of possible moral issues.

1. Is the Docker program free software?  Is the Podman program free
software?  If neither of them is free software, is this a feature that
promotes running nonfree software on GNU?

2. Supposing that one of them is free software, and there is no
problem of that kind, there's another problem that people have
reported to me: in making a container, there is a risk of including
nonfree programs and you can't easily tell if that has happened, let
alone make sure it won't happen.  The container-making process tends
to pull in dependencies without checking whether they are free.

That is not a reason to refuse to support this access-into-containers
feature, but we should take advantage of this feature and its
documentation to inform people about that problem.

3. Distributing free programs in containers tends to be bad for
the community's control over the program.  Because people
don't build the program on the GNU/Linux distros they use,
and don't package it for those distros.

This too we should use the opportunity to warn people about.

Dr Richard Stallman (https://stallman.org)
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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