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[gNewSense-users] Re: [gnu.org #362527] Listing other GNU/Linux distribu


From: Yavor Doganov
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Re: [gnu.org #362527] Listing other GNU/Linux distributions
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 20:23:18 +0300
User-agent: Wanderlust/2.15.5 (Almost Unreal) SEMI/1.14.6 (Maruoka) FLIM/1.14.9 (Goj┼Ź) APEL/10.7 Emacs/22.2 (i486-pc-linux-gnu) MULE/5.0 (SAKAKI)

Let me share my humble personal thoughts on this subject as a reader
of this list.

Dave Crossland wrote:
> 
> I believe this is a useful suggestion for the gnewsense, and perhaps
> even GNU, website; that is, explaining to other GNU+Linux
> distributions what proprietary software the include,

I admit this idea crossed my mind too in the past (without the linking
part), because from time to time people ask "Please list the Foo
distro" or "Why Bar is not listed?".  However, I quickly concluded
that such a page would be unnecessary, because...

> so they could get rid of it,

...the presence of non-free software in most of the distros is not
something that happened by accident or as a result of not knowing what
to do.  It is pretty much a deliberate decision and a policy of these
projects.

Recently, a new article has been uploaded:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html

It can be used as an aid (although the guidelines do not go in much
detail) by those distributors who are willing to make their distros
entirely free.

> would help them to become fully free.

As I said, the main thing that would help them to become fully free is
their determination to become fully free.  This is the most important
thing, and all technical decisions should stem from that
determination, IMO.

> I would have them list any and all GNU/Linux distributions and
> comment and constructively criticise them in that listing, like they
> do with licences.  After all, no-one seriously claims FSF is
> recommending the Jahia Community Source License, do they?

Now this is something that cannot be really comparable.  It is useful
to have a list with licenses, because it is not obvious for everyone
in which category a particular license falls.  In addition, there is
the important distinction of free software licenses that are
incompatible with the GPL, which is even harder to determine (as
opposed to whether it is free or not).  Most of the conclusions in the
license-list at gnu.org have required serious thought and consultation
with lawyers.

By contrast, it is elementary to figure out why Debian, Slackware,
RHEGL, SGLES, etc. do not classify for the list of free GNU/Linux
distros, even without the necessity to deduce the requirements from
the newly published guidelines.  I think nearly every free software
supporter knows why they're not on the list.  It's just plain
obvious.

So if we imagine such a hypothetical article, "distro-list", it would
actually be one paragraph, because all distros listed will share one
thing in common, with very minor nuances.  license-list is something
different, and its purpose is different.





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