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[gNewSense-users] Re: VLC is non free?

From: Yavor Doganov
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Re: VLC is non free?
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 15:30:38 +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)

Dara Adib wrote:
> While it is true that Ubuntu does add "user-friendly enhancements"
> that should go in upstream projects, it is also true that these
> create an experience which Debian is not as successful at.

Maybe, or maybe not.  gNewSense, strictly technically speaking, is a
huge regression in terms of usability compared to Debian.  It might be
better for those who come from the Windows world.  For me, the
packages I'm interested in are plain broken (simply because they're
not for Ubuntu's target audience so they just rebuilt the some random
version because they had to release), and the overall attitude of the
system treating me as a clueless moron is insulting.

> The Ubuntu project asks that developers send appropriate changes
> upstream and many do try to do so, but unfortunately it doesn't
> always happen.

It doesn't always happen because the changes are dubious, at best.
Take the GNOME logout dialog.  The GNOME Panel upstream maintainer is
an Ubuntu guy, but has stated several times that Ubuntu's changes
won't go in GNOME -- they're invasive and contradict GNOME's HIG and
usability philosophy.  Some people have told me in the past that gNS's
(Ubuntu's) GNOME logout dialog absolutely resembles that of Windows.
I don't know if it's true, but it explains a lot.

I will not talk about the translations -- translators doing their work
without consultation with the source are just decorating a black box,
for the sake for 100% completeness.  Ubuntu translations (inherited by
gNS) have "improvements" that contain words not existing in the
Bulgarian language, or are simply result of the Ubuntu translator not
knowing at all what the string is about (not because she was
uncapable, but because she is not familiar with that program and
didn't bother to look in what function this particular string is about
-- what it does, and what is the sole purpose of that string).

> After removing restricted and multiverse packages, Ubuntu is not
> much different from Debian in terms of "freeness".

This statement proved to be false, with the ubuntu-linux-modules
package and some multiverse free packages excluded only because
they're in multiverse.

> You can upgrade from release to release with Ubuntu

I *don't care* about Ubuntu.  I've never installed that distro,
because it is an immense regression compared to Debian from Day 1
(speaking only about freedom here, if I add the technical regressions,
things get worse...)  I saw it once at a "free software" conference in
Ubuntu's early days.  That's it; I've never used it.  I am almost sure
that upgrades between Ubuntu regular and LTS releases work, but this
fact doesn't help at all.

I was talking about the inability to upgrade (easily) from DeltaD to
DeltaH and probably from DeltaH to Delta$X.  And this is not just
plain laziness of the gNewSense developers -- it is a major effort
that requires quite some time to kill (and basically it has to be
redone from scratch for every release).  So I don't really blame them
for not supporting upgrades.

> While Ubuntu has many issues, I am convinced that it is the best
> distribution for gNewSense to derive from.

Well, it is up to the gNewSense developers to decide what to do and I
don't dispute that.  Ubuntu has more freedom issues than Debian,
that's for sure.  The "usability advantages" of the Ubuntu system are
clearly outright regressions for me, even if I talk purely a GNOME
user.  Maybe they count as "improvements" to many others.

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