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

From: Brett Smith
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] How do you handle references to non-free softwarein public forums?
Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2011 17:25:59 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110424 Thunderbird/3.1.10

On 07/07/2011 11:03 PM, Karl Goetz wrote:
> 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).

Proprietary == it doesn't meet the Free Software Definition.

Non-FSDG == it's not suitable for inclusion under the Free System
Distribution Guidelines.

Non-FSDG is a superset of proprietary.  All proprietary software is
non-FSDG software, obviously.  But there's plenty of free software
that's non-FSDG, too.  bnetd is a good example; it's free software, but
it's not really appropriate for inclusion in a free distro, since it's
only immediately useful in conjunction with proprietary software.

Regular discussions promoting nonfree software on a free distro's forums
can be cause for concern, because they might give readers the wrong idea
about what the distro is about.  Discussions about free-but-non-FSDG
software are a little different, and it really all comes down to
context.  If someone simply recommends, "Use this program," it's
worthwhile to point out why the program isn't already in the
distribution.  If the conversation is along the lines of "What's the
right way to fix the FSDG bugs in this free software?" that's great and
absolutely something we want to encourage.

Brett Smith
License Compliance Engineer, Free Software Foundation

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