Re: Non-free software and GNOME

On Fri, Oct 19, 2001 at 01:05:34PM +0200, Christian Schaller wrote:
> Hi,
> As most of you probably know myself and Steve George are writing the
> GNOME summaries. Personally I also post or approve a lot of the stories
> comming up on Gnotices. 

  Yes, thanks a lot for doing this ! the GNOME summaries are really
useful and very appreciated !

> Some weeks ago we got a mail from Richard Stallman asking that we stop
> all mentions of non-free software in the GNOME summaries. The background
> for the request was that we had mentioned the beta of Star Office some
> time back.
> I argued that the purpose of the GNOME summaries was to promote GNOME
> and while our focus of course is free software I felt that it was
> natural to mention the availability of non-free software where the
> existence of such software where a clear advantage for GNOME.
> RMS replied telling us that he disagreed with my argument and saying the
> we are legitimatizing the use of non-free software by mentioning it. 
> I left it at that, but today RMS remailed us today asking us to confirm
> that we will not mention non-free software anymore.

  Whoever does the job makes the decisions IMHO. If RMS is not happy
he can publish his own view of the GNOME work and post his own summaries.
We lost the GNOME summaries for nearly one year, and you resurected them,
someone else could have done it differently, but you did it. We need to
encourage people who invest time building the overall project infrastructure
(not just code), I have myself annoyed the Web people for design issues
in the past, but the fundamental rule of such voluteer based project is
and remains for most :
       "At the end, who does the job decides !"

  as long as the job fullfills the needs of the project. It doesn't 
prevent discussing options or making more global decisions, but that
rule must not be forgotten otherwise people get turned off from the project.

> So I decided to ask the GNOME foundation on policy advice on this issue.
> So what is to be the GNOME policy on this question? Is all mentions of
> non-free software something we should avoid at all costs or should we
> keep with the current unwriten policy of mentioning it when we feel that
> mentioning will benefit the use of free software (GNOME) overall?

  I think that RMS views are extreme on this matter.

> Personally I feel that I and Steve have kept a nice balance using common
> sense up to this point, but if we are out of sync with the rest of the
> community please let us know.

  You made an excellent job so far, the balance is nice, we should definitely
not frighten people or ISV who expect to build on the GNOME platform.
If there is commercial software related to GNOME it is not a shame, as long
as they provide bug reports, patches and make a fair use of them, it's
perfectly fine by me !

Daniel, speaking for himself.

Daniel Veillard      | Red Hat Network
veillard redhat com  | libxml Gnome XML XSLT toolkit | Rpmfind RPM search engine

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