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Re: [gNewSense-users] [en] FSFLA's petition for Canaima GNU/Linux to be

From: avr
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] [en] FSFLA's petition for Canaima GNU/Linux to be Free
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 15:44:13 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.13 (2006-08-11)


> The Venezuelan Presidential Decree 3390, specifically in articles 2
> and 7, explains and backs up the reasons why the Venezuelan state
> should develop a Free Software distribution.  Canaima GNU/Linux is
> this distribution, so it ought to be a Free distribution, without
> parts that threaten its users' freedoms.

Is there any reason named in this decree why the Venezuelan state should
develop a Free Software distribution instead of adopting gnewSense ?
Is it their wish to cater to already existing computers which already
contain hardware for which free drivers are not available ?
I'm not really worried about there being 'too many' distributions. But
as I came to understand it, they were looking specifically for a
very free distribution to guarantee self determination of their computer
infrastructure, a role which befits gnewSense very well.

It seems to me it would be easier for them to dedicate resources to translations
and optionally rebranding of gnewSense than to arduously re-discover the path
to software freedom.

(Additionally, on a higher level, it provides less ground to potential 
to participate in an already global project and add a local scope to it than to 
your own projects from within a local scope, especially if the decision
to adopt Free Software is politically driven. But this is only as an aside to
my original question.)

Is gnewSense not visible enough that people specifically looking for a free 
system will find it and think, "This is (almost) exactly what I need!" ?

Is gnewSense generally seen as a distribution for the English speaking world ?

In short, are there any reasons/hurdles as to why gnewSense is not seen as the 
default 'go to' Free Software distribution in any language ?
(maybe it already is, but I missed it completely because I do not speak those 
languages. But
then I'd love to hear that from people who are aware of such developments)

As for the specific petition for Canaima GNU/Linux to be Free. Maybe it would
be good to simply petition to make every effort possible to be included in
the FSF's free distribution list (,
which would automatically preclude the use of privative software. It would
show that developing a free distribution can be done (since others already
exist) and they would not be alone in the effort (they are not being held 
to 'special standards' in regards to excluding proprietary software). It would 
serve to remind them of their commitment to Software Freedom and self
As such it might be a good idea for the FSF sister organizations to adopt the
list of completely Free Software distributions as published by the FSF to show
their adoption is desirable outside of the US as well. (I know the FSF isn't 
US specific, but it's not hard to see how it can be interpreted that way
when FSFs exist specifically for other parts of the world. )

Thank you for reading.

> Some institutions have computers with devices that cannot work without
> privative drivers and “firmwares”.  In the long term, they ought to be
> replaced, but in the short term there will be wishes to install these
> drivers so as to use them, as if it was normal to include them,
> without any warning, and as if they didn't amount to any problem or
> danger.
> Canaima GNU/Linux ought to resist the temptation to include these
> programs in its base distribution and in its future versions.
> Specially, it ought to avoid at all costs including them as if they
> were normal and acceptable, for this amounts to legitimizing and
> accepting them submissively, without actual plans or explicit
> intentions to avoid this dependency.  There are regulations that will
> require that computers purchased or produced by the Venezuelan state
> be capable of working with Canaima GNU/Linux.  If Canaima GNU/Linux
> includes privative drivers, it will enable the purchase of far more
> hardware that demands Privative Software to work, preventing the
> achievement of our dreamed Technological Sovereignty.
> If an institution, for hardware already acquired, requires privative
> parts to be able to use these devices, then it will have to name and
> install these parts, optionally and with notification on the documents
> generated in the process, as established in Presidential Decree 3390.
> Privative Software is a problem, and not offering resistance amounts
> to losing many past achievements.
> Accepting Privative Software amounts to making entire institutions
> dependent on the wishes of a business or a small group of people.
> It's carrying on in the Privative model.
> If Privative Software is integrated with Canaima GNU/Linux, we hope it
> isn't with conscientious acceptance by the project, but rather with
> the regret and the consciousness of losing Technological Sovereignty,
> depriving ourselves of our freedom to learn in informatics, and to be
> able to improve these technologies.  Besides, many times nothing can
> be done with them without approval and blessing from the developers of
> these privative parts.
> Using Privative Software (in any amount) risks the stability and the
> operation of any system, including the defense ones.  A tiny privative
> program can easily spy on, delete or copy information in such a way
> that the user cannot realize it.
> Finally, regarding the “freedom” to choose Free Software or Privative
> Software in order to be free: it is possible to accept that someone
> else controls your computer.  It is usual to see those who agree that
> someone else makes the decisions on their computers, spy on them or
> deny them some features, in addition to preventing studying and
> improving its software, for sure.  It is true that they can choose to
> use Privative Software.  We know it and we understand it, though with
> much disappointment, for it is unfortunate that someone wants to
> choose this option.  What we do about this is not to force them or
> make them reject Privative Software: we notify them that by taking
> this action (which is not a freedom, neither in fact nor by law) they
> lose many actual freedoms, of the most important kind, of the kind
> that affects entire countries and peoples.

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