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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] DSFG in perpetuity

From: Jason Self
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] DSFG in perpetuity
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2018 17:47:07 -0700 (PDT)

I don't understand the desire to boot distros off over how
"maintained" they are. (Like how often releases happen, etc.) Both
Blag and Ututo have been removed before. That can be seen in the log
from the version control system [0]. One of the cited reasons, for
Blag, was "it was last updated in 2011." My recollection for Ututo is
that it was along similar lines. But, as you can see, they were both
re-added (you can check the version control system log for that.)

My recollection of why they were put back is that the notion of if a
distro was actively maintained or not was supposed to be based on how
the maintainers of the distro classified it and not on some
externally-measurable thing like when the last release was, how
current the program versions are, or whatever. This allows, for
example, for distros that are slow-moving because of a lack of people
power to not find themselves kicked off the list because of a
popularity contest. And that's exactly what it would become: "I'm
sorry, but there are more people helping with Distro X and not Distro
Y so Distro Y hasn't been making much progress and hasn't had a
release in a while so you're gone." It's not supposed to be a
popularity contest and, if anything, slower-moving distros that have
less people power probably need more help than the more active &
popular ones do rather than condemnation and a push to remove them.

Distros are expected to fix freedom problems but I don't know that the
FSDG can be read that a distro must provide support to its users
beyond providing for a way to report freedom problems.

Your question of "should the new release be subject to a fresh review
or grandfathered in on good faith" seems very similar to what you
asked in the other thread. And so that brings up all of those same
responses I wrote. There's no reason someone can't go do a review of
any FSF-endorsed distro. I think the reason that they're not done is a
lack of people power. Please feel free to start a review of Ututo or
any other one. I don't have the free time to do that myself right now
but I'm not going to stop anyone else that wants to do.

AFAIK, no one has done the deep-dive into Chromium needed to make a
determination one way or the other. I don't think there's any harm in
distros removing Chromium (or any particular thing) if they want to --
after all, I don't think the FSDG can be read to compel any particular
distro to carry any particular program -- but at the same time if a
distro wants to instead wait until a particular issue has been
properly researched and confirmed as valid so as to avoid
unnecessarily removing packages only to put them back in later, I
don't see how that would not be FSDG compliant. Especially on a large
program like Chromium where much effort is required. The GNU Bucks
program, for example, conditions getting the Buck not merely on
*allegation* of a problem but "after the maintainer has confirmed that
the bug is valid." Why not tie program removal to that same standard?
That still wouldn't prevent distros from going further if they elected
to. Like it doesn't require distros to remove programs over patent
problems or require that non-functional data (I'm thinking wallpapers,
etc.) be under a free culture license but at the same time it wouldn't
prevent a distro from having such a policy either.

> admittedly, i have been kicking pureos a lot lately - mainly because
> i have been hoping to see someone from pureos defend it - it seems 
> quite clear to me that no one from pureos is reading this list - i 
> would propose that one of the FSDG requirements should be for each 
> distro to elect a delegate to follow, if not actively participate in
> the discussions on this list on behalf of the distro

That does seem a good idea.


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