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Re: [gNewSense-users] Add/Remove... suggestion to install or work with n

From: Sam Geeraerts
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Add/Remove... suggestion to install or work with non-free software
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 22:57:34 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090318)

Ali Davoodifar schreef:
On Mon, May 25, 2009 at 6:03 AM, Karl Goetz <address@hidden> wrote:

ndiswrapper exists purely to load non-free software. I'm certainly not
aware of any free drivers that ndiswrapper could load. Have you any

The point of free software is that it should be free to be used for
"whatever" purpose the user has a need to. Not all the ways the
software may be used in the future are known to the developer, and
this is as it should be. Ultimately it is the user that decides what
to do with the software.

There may not be any known examples of free software use for it at
present, but there may be in the future, who knows? At the very least
it can be regarded as an object of study, which is a perfectly valid
"use" in and of itself.

ndiswrapper is free software, therefore there's no need for removal
out of a software freedom perspective.

I tend to agree with this point of view. We remove (or modify) packages
for two reasons:

- being/including non-free software: not the case here.
- recommending the use of non-free software: the package description
speaks about "Windows drivers", which does not equal "non-free drivers".
If the software doesn't pull any non-free drivers/blobs off the Net and
the documentation is also "clean", then there's no problem here. The README points to the wiki [1], which might in turn have pointed to non-free software, but it doesn't seem to exist anymore.

Removing it would unnecessarily make it harder for people to use this
free package if they would find a practical use for it that doesn't
involve non-free software (even if that is unlikely).

And it's also included in the Free Software Directory [2], which implies that it complies with FSF's policy and thus gNewSense's policy.


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