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Re: [gNewSense-users] Suspected Non-free

From: Kevin Dean
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Suspected Non-free
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 05:18:36 +0000

On 4/16/07, Koh Choon Lin <address@hidden> wrote:

If we do not judge the free-ness of a software by its license, there
are scenarios who can go into endless arguments. Here are two of them:

The arguements are only endless when people argue to be right. My
definition of Freedom matters ONLY to me, since the software I use
matters only to me. You can use non-Free software, Free Software and
any mix in between. That's the great thing about freedom.

However, the FSF definition IS used to determine if software is
distributed by gNewSense. The question of "How do we define Free" has
already been answered and it DOES look beyond the license.

1. If a country bans Linux, is it still free (since her citizens
cannot copy it) for everyone?

I personally would argue no, it is not Free. I would also urge those
people to either repeal their laws or break them.

2. The complete source code of the firmwares in Linux is not
available, they exist as a series of numbers. Is it free for everyone?

The complete source code of the kernel Linux is NOT availible, and
that's EXACTLY why the gNewSense project, in essence, forked the Linux
kernel to remove the non-free components.

If you can not reasonably makes changes to it, it's not Free. You can
not _reasonably_ make changes to binary firmware so it has been deemed
non-Free and removed. It is GPL, and it is non-Free. The same
situation exists for the Radeon driver provided by Xorg. It is a Free
Software license, but it contain ATI microcode that can not be
reasonably modified so it is non-Free and removed.

Koh Choon Lin

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