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Re: MAME emulator is giving incentive to use non-free software

From: Mathieu Lirzin
Subject: Re: MAME emulator is giving incentive to use non-free software
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016 16:23:15 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.5 (gnu/linux)


Jean Louis <address@hidden> writes:

> On Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 12:35:12PM +0100, address@hidden wrote:
>> MAME, Wine, Qemu and GNU/linux-libre all have the following in common: You
>> can use them to run non free software. While they can all also be used to
>> run free software I don't think this is important. Here's why: The freedom
>> to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
> OK, please remember, I discuss this in friendly manner, totally separate
> from other subjects. It is not personal. I wish that people get
> awareness of what means pushing free software into society.
> I do feel that in GuixSD, since yesterday, there is lack of the
> understanding what means truly free software. 

When talking to people contributing to a GNU project which consists of a
FSDG compliant package manager and distribution, this is not good
communication to suggest that “they” don't understand the true meaning
of Free Software.  I think it would be better to just say that according
to your interpretation of FSDG, Guix should not distribute MAME.

> Cite:
> "What would be unacceptable is for the documentation to give people
> instructions for installing a nonfree program on the system, or mention
> conveniences they might gain by doing so."
> Does here, belongs to documentation? I think it does.

The FSDG refers to documentation provided by the distribution not
upstream.  If upstream does include some documentation or description
not compliant with FSDG then Guix will not distribute such piece.

> I use free software and I am free and fine with it. I am not using free
> software to have 2 faces or to recommend to others non-free software.

MAME is Free Software.  If MAME has required non-free ROMs to run then
it will not be possible to distribute it and comply with FSDG, however
it seems that MAME can be run with free ROMs and does not suggest
installing non-free code when running it.

I have no interest in MAME, but refusing to distribute it makes
assumption about what people are going to use it for.  The fact that
apparently “most” people are running non-free stuff on top of it, is not
a valid argument in term of software freedom or compliance with FSDG.
It could be valid for other ethical issues but IMO Guix should focus
only on Free Software ethics.

Does it make sense?

Mathieu Lirzin

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