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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] MAME emulator is giving incentive to use non-free

From: Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] MAME emulator is giving incentive to use non-free software
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2016 05:17:46 +0200

On Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:30:17 -0600
Isaac David <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hi,

> My view was that while useless in a 100% free environment just
> having them installed and inspecting their user interfaces wouldn't
> violate your freedom in any way. A free emulator with free
> dependencies wouldn't be unethical unless it recommended using
> proprietary software with it. However in the last few days I have
> seen many arguments showing there are yet more valid uses I hadn't
> imagined, like learning from the source code and testing portability
> without leaving your comfy libre OS.
Just requiring documentation that shows how at least one valid use case
(that works) while remaining 100% free would be great:
It would fix the issue for good, while improving users freedom by
limiting the steer towards non-free software that such virtual machines

For instance:
- For qemu, libvirt and so on, we would ship or point to documentation
  explaining how to run a 100% free software distribution like Trisquel.
- For wine we would document compiling and running of a 100% free
- For emulators, unless 100% free distributions do exist for the
  machines they emulate, we'd document how to compile and run an
  application or game.
- For emulators that have no 100% free games but that have a toolchain,
  we could document how to do compile and run a hello world. That would
  count as 100% free software compiling and running.

> Meanwhile other emulators and wine are completely out of the
> question because there's free applications for them, even though
> using the non-free ones is more common.
I don't doubt that, however is it possible to compile and run such
applications 100% free? Since some GNU software is ported on wine, I
would guess that there is a way to do it, but I've no proof.
I fear that some free software applications would include some non-free
runtime libraries. Given how poorly I know non-free OS, I've no idea if
it's a legitimate concern.

> Parabola documents emulators extensively in a wiki page.
Should we document how to compile and run free software there, or
should we ship that documentation with the package?
In the former case, should we point the user to the wiki page at the
end of the package installation, in the case of Parabola.


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