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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] yes, this is great freedom problem

From: Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] yes, this is great freedom problem
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2018 00:32:44 +0200

On Thu, 2 Aug 2018 19:34:43 -0400
bill-auger <address@hidden> wrote:

> there was a message forwarded recently to the parabola mailing
> list[1] from a user who has asked RMS if the GPLv3 telegram desktop
> client that has as its only possible use to interact with proprietary
> servers constituted a freedom concern - RMS stated very clearly that
> the client was acceptable because it is freely licensed, and the
> software running on remote network services is fully exempt from the
> FSDG - so there may be "trademark" issues, and there may be "privacy"
> or other "ethical" concerns, but the official position is that
> proprietary network services are not a "freedom" issue
> i can only speak with direct experience of parabola; but i can say
> that parabola removes anything that so much as smells of proprietary,
> trade-marked, or encourages the use of proprietary network services -
> that is not strictly required by the FSDG though, it is done more for
> those "philosophical" reasons
> so just to use the correct words here: in order for this to a
> "freedom" concern, you first have to state explicitly in which way do
> you suppose those buttons remove user's freedom - i dont think that
> because those businesses "working againts freedom philosophy" is
> quite enough - RMS contends that merely using a proprietary network
> service does not impede the user's freedom; so you would need to have
> something more concrete in mind for us to discuss here
> as isaacdavid points out there is the freedom concern that can be
> raised if the distro is directing users directly into running
> non-free javascripts - i asked RMS a follow-up question regarding
> that subtlety; but he did not answer that conclusively

Personally I think that user should be able to trust FSDG compliant
distributions. This means that the distribution should not mislead
users into installing or running proprietary software.

For instance many users without much computer knowledge may expect that
if the distribution says that everything in it is free software and
that the distribution has been "certified by the FSF"(FSDG compliant),
everything that the user install through that distribution is really
free software.

For instance using the web browser's "add-on package manager" should
also result in having installed only free software add-ons.

Technical users also benefit from that as they don't have to check the
source code themselves of each add-ons or software installed in
a similar way.

Preventing users from using a web browser (that is provided by such
FSDG distribution) to willingly download and install nonfree software
like flash, to willingly run nonfree JavaScript, or to willingly
destroy the very little privacy/intimacy they have left (along with the
one of the people they're interacting with), ought not to be mandatory
in the FSDG guidelines.

In my opinion, the distribution shall not be responsible of what is
available on the Web and shall not force its users to have some filters
imposed on them.

That said it might be interesting to inform users in some way
(especially non-technical ones) about common threats for freedom on the
Web or the Internet such as nonfree JavaScript, and privacy violation,
and give them pointers on how to deal with that.

However in my opinion, programs or packages (like youtube-dl or weboob)
that may run non-free JavaScript from websites without informing its
users, should be modified to make sure that the users is aware of the

Last time I checked the FSDG guidelines, as I understand it,
blocking privacy violating Web or Internet services was not mandatory,
and free software applications for Facebook was not against such


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