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Re: State of the GNUnion 2020

From: Alexandre François Garreau
Subject: Re: State of the GNUnion 2020
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2020 03:10:35 +0100

Le mardi 25 février 2020, 00:55:09 CET Samuel Thibault a écrit :
> As I mentioned in another mail, I am not talking about the software
> running the platform, but the community around the platform. It's the
> contact they get from the community living on a given platform, which
> makes the welcoming atmosphere. And there leadership does matter.

The central point was “leadership does not matter”, it was not refuted 
with arguments.

> Did you really read what was actually written on
> ?
> It does not talk about the values that contributors hold for themselves,
> it talks about the values put in the software of the GNU project:
> The GNU Project provides software that guarantees to all users the Four
> Essential Freedoms, without compromise:
> etc. It does not talk about exclusively using free software etc.

Oh my god so this is even worse I could believe.

So… this statement is not about society, it is not about the actual 
*goals* of GNU (making people able, in their life (= in their general 
usage of computers), to only use free software, so that they can act to 
make proprietary software disappear), it is simply about GNU…

But there are already commitments asked by RMS about *not endorsing 
proprietary software* in GNU project, about everything going to be free…

So actually you ask not to support free software outside of GNU, not to 
support it inside (this is already the case), but to *agree* with it… but 
*only inside*: this is the combined worse of two worlds.

Either you don’t ask anything about their ideas to people contributing (or 
maintaining) GNU, so to be maximally inclusive… either you ask them to 
agree with its end goals, so to ensure, if, as you desire, they get 
involved in leadership, they’ll take the right decisions.

There, you ask to hold a subset of those end goals (such as the total 
disappearance of proprietary software… and SaaSS, which is even worse), so 
you begin promoting exclusion, or at least some forms of priviledge… 
without having them being useful to anything!

I mean, if some, most or all key GNU people endorsed that text I couldn’t 
less care if that doesn’t even ask them not to promote the usage of SaaSS 
for developing it, or the disappearance of proprietary software outside of 

For instance GNU does stuff such that proprietary software doesn’t exist 
out of it.  That’s why it actively *promote* copyleft, even if it doesn’t 
directly serves GNU.  That’s why LLVM is politically *an enemy* since it 
is supported, financed and partially developed *so that* proprietary 
frontend (or even optimizing backend) can be plugged into it.  That’s why 
GNU refused to support stuff related to LLVM, even if it is *outside* of 
it, even if our compiler is different.  If LLVM had been copylefted, I 
think GNU (rms) would have been *glad* to merge code, or at least copy or 
mimicate interfaces so that to help compatibility (because compatibility 
is a good thing), porting, migrations, etc.  But the state is very 
different: it is that GNU isn’t eager to develop interfaces with LLVM, and 
this is not related to GNU (otherwise a possible argument could be “yes it 
competes with GCC, but it’d bring more people to GNU! and after all, it’s 

Compilers nowadays, and computer languages in general, because of the vast 
monopoly of GCC, have been something which are *basically* expect to be 
*naturally* free. LLVM is an attempt, or at least a serious possibility, 
of changing that.  This has nothing to do with GNU.  This has to do with 
free-software movement.  This is exterior to GNU.  And yet GNU has to act 
about it.

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