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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Parabola GNU/Linux

From: Sam Geeraerts
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Parabola GNU/Linux
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2011 23:56:23 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20100415)

Jason Self wrote:
Joshua Ismael wrote:

Archlinux has an automatic building system in wich you
provide some information and the script automatically
build them.

For Parabola GNU/Linux we provide scripts for deblobing
while building so anyone can compile it's linux-libre kernel
from the vanilla source.

If the purpose is to provide the means to build a free
kernel we already make this. Isn't this enough?

A free distro should consist of only free software. Consider that the software is really the source code and that the binaries are just the usable machine-readable form of it. Both source code and binaries should be free (the latter follows from the former if all is well).

My understanding is that the existing free distros provide
already-deblobbed kernel source code for their users to get, instead of
having them download the original unmodified tarball from

The kernel in gNewSense DeltaH is deblobbed, for MetaD we grab the source and binary packages straight from

My own personal opinion is that grabbing the corresponding linux-libre
tarballs and then fixing any distro-specific patches that don't cleanly
apply is a better choice.

It's a good question, though: Can a free distro have their users
download nonfree software and then go through the process to clean it up

Providing non-free software + user executable freedom patch is not what a free distro should be doing, IMO.

I'll admit these two points about gNewSense:

1) We make link to the FSF extension list with a dpkg-divert in a separate package. This means that the link is only changed when that package is installed (which is the case in a standard desktop install). I think that's acceptable.

2) Sometimes we leave freedom issues in the repo while working on a fix. In the case of the boost lib in OO.o [1] it took me a few months to fix it. Perhaps we should be more strict about this and remove the package immediately, but only reintroduce after the fix is complete.


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