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Re: [ELPA] new package: tramp-docker

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [ELPA] new package: tramp-docker
Date: Sat, 08 Oct 2022 18:34:06 -0400

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  > > 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?

  > Yes, both are free software.

That is a relief -- at the first level, this is not a problem.

  > To my knowledge there is the danger of either having a build-time or a
  > run-time dependency on a non-free container,

That's what was reported to me.

Does Docker provide an easy way to verify that you have avoided such
dependencies?  A way to make sure to avoid including them?

                                                 though looking through a
  > container index like (https://hub.docker.com/search?q=)

I tried visiting http://hub.docker.com/ and got a blank window.  It depends
on nonfree software to see even the first page.  We must not refer anyone
to that site.

Likewise for https://hub.docker.com/search.

I surmise that the standard way to develop a container involves using
https://hub.docker.com/search.  Is that correct?

Is that the _only_ way to develop a container?  Is it possible,
practically speaking, to build a container without using that site at all?

Has anyone here had practical experience?

                                                           , it appears that
  > the overwhelming majority of popular software is free software, if only
  > because distribution is easier.

Alas, that does not by itself ensure that, supposing you build a container,
you won't consider including nonfree programs.

Is there an easy way you can ensure that _all_ the programs you put
into a new container are free?  Is there an easy way to verify that
the contents of a container are free?

After I get a little information here, I will ask on gnu-misc-discuss.

  > That being said, TRAMP+Docker is a popular combination for developing
  > software, so what people often just do is use a distribution image
  > (Ubuntu, Debian, Alpine) as the foundation and then instruct the
  > container to install all the software they need using the distributions
  > package manager, while building their own image.

I see how that is buzarre, but paradoxically it might work in
freedom's favor here.  If you use a free distro to build the
container, and put things in it with apt-get, you will get only free
software in it.  Maybe that is a reliable method we could recommend.

  > > 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.

  > I think this could be added to the commentary section.

Maybe so, but when you say "the commentary section", could you
be more precise?  The commentary section of what documentation?

After I get a little information here, I will move this to gnu-misc-discuss.

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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