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From: Adam Fedor
Subject: Apology
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 08:18:23 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux ppc; en-US; rv:0.9.4) Gecko/20011009

     The GNUstep project would like to apologize for announcing that
     we had been given, as a donation, a license for a proprietary
     program.  We made a mistake in announcing this, but the first
     mistake was in asking for a donation of that kind.  The GNU
     Project gladly accepts donations of computers, money, and other
     services, and gladly thanks the donors for them.  But we can't
     accept a copy of a proprietary program, because we criticize
     proprietary software on ethical grounds and we have to live by
     our ethical principles.  And we can't advertise a proprietary
     program no matter how grateful we feel towards its developer.

     How did we make the mistake of asking for a donation of that
     kind?  We were so absorbed in looking for ways to improve GNUstep
     that we forgot the larger goal and principles of the GNU Project.
     We forgot that "donating a license" for a non-free program is
     just making a special exception to a general policy of
     restricting all the users.  We're supposed to be working on
     changing this restrictive situation for everyone, not obtaining a
     special exception for ourselves.  We're supposed to be taking the
     proprietary software off our machines, not putting more of it on.

     Announcing this problematical donation was a further mistake,
     because it had the effect of advertising the proprietary program.
     Our principles say we should only help publicize a software
     package if it's the sort of package that we're trying to
     encourage--that is, a free software package.

     This just goes to show how people working on a technical project
     need to recall the larger context--the long-term goals and
     ethical principles--and not get lost in the details of the
     specific technical problems to be solved today.

     We hope you can learn from this mistake.  Please consider the
     benefits of free software that respects your freedom.  And if you
     find a non-free program that you really would like to use, don't
     try to get a copy.  Write a free replacement for it instead!

Adam Fedor, Digital Optics            | I'm glad I hate spinach, because                    | if I didn't, I'd eat it, and you                | know how I hate the stuff.

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