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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] How do you handle references to non-free softwarei

From: Karl Goetz
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] How do you handle references to non-free softwarein public forums?
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 13:03:41 +1000

On Thu, 7 Jul 2011 19:58:05 +0200
Henry Jensen <address@hidden> wrote:

> On Wed, 06 Jul 2011 13:06:21 -0700 (PDT)
> "Jason Self" <address@hidden> wrote:
> > Henry Jensen <address@hidden> wrote ..
> > > If it occurs at the forum of a FSDG compliant distro that now and
> > > then non-free software is mentioned, how do you handle this?
> > 
> > I think gNewSense does this pretty well by setting Community
> > Guidelines [1] 
> This Guidelines are pretty good. May I use them as a blueprint?

Sure, but note the licence info on the page.

Would a page like this on the libreplanet wiki that all FSDG distros
could use be useful?

> > I think a "how to" amounts to the same thing, and is probably worse
> > than someone just posting a question. A question thread can be
> > locked, perhaps after a moderator has posted a short message saying
> > there's no help for proprietary software. If someone posts a reply
> > or a step-by-step "HOW TO" about running a specific piece of
> > proprietary software it absolutely should be deleted, IMHO, and
> > consideration given to anyone that repeatedly breaks the community
> > guidelines.
> If I understand you correctly, references to NON-FSDG-Software should
> be treated the same way as completely non-free software.

Its hard to talk about computing without *references* to proprietary
software. *Instructions* on installing it on the other hand, should be
frowned upon in a free distributions community.

> I objected that posting a reference to this NON-FSGD software at the
> Trisquel forum is probably not a good idea, but the author of the post
> said that "no one seems to have an issue" with this and "Non-FSDG
> software isn't non-free software." Since no one of the Trisquel

I'm skipping the exact incident, I just wanted to note "Non-FSDG
software isn't non-free software.". This is normally "My freedom doesn't
match yours, so yours is invalid (even though i'm in your forum)". A
page to say 'this is our sort of freedom, there are other definitions,
we dint use them' might be useful. Thoughts?

> > > Deleting the posts would be censorship and I think this would be
> > > not good.
> > 
> > I don't think it amounts to censorship. After all, there are plenty
> > of other places where they could pose their question/post their
> > how-to. I think it comes down to the question of: Should people be
> > able to use *your* project infrastructure to provide
> > advice/support/etc on how to use proprietary software?
> Good point. But sometime it is hard to know where to draw the line. Of
> course, if someone would post a link for a proprietary software with
> instructions to download and install it, it would be a clearly
> violation. But goes the same for NON-FSDG software? What about the

Whats the difference between proprietary and NON-FSDG? I don't see one
existing (I've always understood that in FSF parlance proprietary ==
non-free == non-fsdg).

> very mentioning of NON-FSDG Software and distros? I think there is a
> point where this is not controllable nor fixable. E. g. some FSDG

Depends what the mentioning entails, but its certainly not something
that can be totally changed.

> distros are based on NON-FSDG distros. It is only natural that the
> NON-FSDG distro is mentioned several times. E. g. gNewSense has the
> string "ubuntu" in almost every package file name.

erm, no. Ubuntu only modifies ~30% of the packages from debian, so its
not possible that 'almost every package' contains ubuntu in the name.


Karl Goetz, (Kamping_Kaiser / VK5FOSS)
Debian contributor / gNewSense Maintainer
No, I won't join your social networking group

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