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

From: Henry Jensen
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] How do you handle references to non-free softwarein public forums?
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 16:34:54 +0200

On Fri, 8 Jul 2011 13:03:41 +1000
Karl Goetz <address@hidden> wrote:

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

I think so.

> 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?

It depends on the audience and comes down to the question: What do we
want to achieve with our free distros? Personally, I want to give users
the chance to use a fully free system.

I think, there are two kinds of users that are using free distros. First are
the ones who already embrace free software and are looking for a fully
free system. We don't have to convince them about software freedom
any more.

The second kind are users who came two us for other reasons. Maybe they
like the art work of Trisquel and/or gNewSense more than the art work
of Ubuntu. Or maybe they even have freedom-related concerns about
Ubuntu (e. g. about the proprietary "Ubuntu One") but don't have an
exact idea about free software. Or the distro has something no other
distro offers them. This are the users I have in mind. Because this is
the way I came to free software. I first used GNU/Linux and then,
afterwards, learned about free software.

Now, if we say "this is our definition of freedom, we don't use
others" this sounds a little harsh to me and might scare users away if
they still don't have an exact idea what free software is about.

For example, I think that the FSDG and Debians DFSG are made of the
same spirit, they are very close. The differences, as I see it, are
small details. In other words: Debian is not our enemy, on the
contrary, the Debian project is an ally in very most cases.
So if someone would refer to Debian or the DFSG, especially if this
user is new to free software, I would not trounce this user. Maybe I
would point out the difference in the specific case, but leave it there.

> 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).

I don't think you can, for example, judge Debian ethical the same way
as, let's say, Microsoft Windows. 

> > 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.

Sorry, I clearly was wrong about that, it was just my first impression
when I looked at the package names.


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