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Re: Question of Aiding and Abetting Proprietary (or non-free) Software i

From: Greg Farough
Subject: Re: Question of Aiding and Abetting Proprietary (or non-free) Software in GNU projects
Date: Tue, 17 May 2022 10:40:14 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/29.0.50 (gnu/linux)

On Tue, May 17 2022, Yasuaki Kudo <> wrote:

> So far, here is my own explanation of the apparent contradiction,
> based on the comments from people who kindly participated in our
> discussion:
> - GNU Emacs runs on Windows, a proprietary system. That's great
> because it can be used as an opportunity to invite people to the world
> of Free Software.
> - Guix runs on Linux, the unabridged with all the proprietary bits and
> pieces for the video card, wifi and all. The same comment as above...
> does not apply? Because if it runs on unmodified Linux and people
> choose to do so, it hurts the project of promoting Free Software!

I think one important distinction between the first case and the
second one is that Windows is unambiguously nonfree; there's no room
for the user to misunderstand that they're on a free operating system.
They can get their first taste of freedom on a nonfree operating
system, and then choose to move to a free one.

Plenty of users wrongfully assume that they're running a (fully) free
system when they're using a distro like Ubuntu, when they're in fact
not. Guix and the other FSDG distros having that policy helps raise
awareness about that, and raise awareness about the problem of nonfree
firmware generally.

This article[1] has a little more context on how a specific event or
community could present the issue of nonfree firmware to the user,
allowing them to make an informed decision. But we ourselves shouldn't
do that, as free software activists, as people (rightly) see us as
"holding the line" when it comes to the free software philosophy. 



Greg Farough // Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation

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