[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [libreplanet-discuss] opinions please: expanding the definition of "

From: Tobias Platen
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] opinions please: expanding the definition of "software freedom"
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 21:45:22 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/31.5.0

systemd is still free software but it is not portable, So for me this is not a problem.

On 22.03.2015 21:32, Miles Fidelman wrote:

I've been watching the ongoing battles raging around systemd - and being bitten by it, as I consider upgrading a bunch of Debian based system, and dread the lurking dependencies that come with a radical re-architecting of critical system components.

The weekend of Libreplanet seems to be as good an opportunity to raise this, as any.

I've begun to wonder if there is a conflict between software freedom and key pieces of software that create massive dependency webs. Or put another way, "vendor lock-in."

The basic FSF definition of software freedom focuses on four basic freedoms:

* The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
 * The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does
   your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is
   a precondition for this.
 * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
   (freedom 2).
 * The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others
   (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance
   to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a
   precondition for this.

I begin to wonder if programs that create massive dependencies - such as systemd - directly conflict with freedom 0. The more that a specific piece of code becomes required, for other code to work - the less free we become to run other programs. In general, there has been a trend toward cross-platform development, along with cleanly defined interfaces that allow for interchangeable parts (e.g., exim vs. postfix vs. sendmail). To date, this carries down to the o/s level (Linux vs. Hurd vs. BSD vs. Illumos). But systemd reverses that, creating a LOT of vendor lock-in. (I expect there are other examples, but systemd is the one that's on stage at the moment - some would say the clear and present danger.)

One might also argue that systemd, in particular, conflicts with freedom 1 - in terms of feature creep, poorly documented code, changing APIs, etc., etc.

Which leads me to wonder if we, perhaps, need a 5th freedom:

 * "Freedom from vendor lock-in," or words to that effect.

One might also want to consider whether the spread of spyware and malware might inspire a 6th freedom:

 * "Freedom from hidden software" or something like that.

Or maybe, these are both part of "freedom to control the configuration of your computing system."


Miles Fidelman

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]