Re: Non-free software and GNOME

On Sun, 21 Oct 2001 12:03:09 CDT, Raja R Harinath wrote:

>Miguel de Icaza <miguel ximian com> writes:
>>    I like to think that GNOME has always worked with other communities
>> to achieve the ultimate goal which is to bring free software adoption
>> to the desktop.  Sometimes this means cooperating and integrating
>> technologies like Mozilla, and we have worked hard with third parties.
>>    Although I preffer free software options to proprietary ones most
>> of the time I see nothing wrong with mentioning software which might
>> be of interest to gnome users and which could help the deployment of
>> more linux systems on the desktop.
>However, GNOME is part of the GNU project.  It is meant to promote
>free software.  
>The GNOME Summaries should thus not be used to promote non-free
>software.  As a compromise, all non-free software should be
>prominently be noted as such, and every mention of non-free software
>in the summaries should be accompanied by a link to the "Why free
>software" page.

GNOME may be part of the GNU project, but it's not necessarily tied to
RMS's all-commercial-software-is-evil philosophy.  As I understand it,
the GNOME platform libraries are consciously licensed under the LGPL
precisely to enable proprietary software to link with them.  I'm sure 
most of us would love to see superior free alternatives for 
everything, but that's not the world we live in; if a company wants 
to use GNOME for its non-free app, and there is no free alternative, 
the world *is* better off: GNOME users get an application they 
wouldn't otherwise have, and a better app at that, since it uses the
GNOME platform.

And IIRC, one of the reasons people started planning the GNOME 
Foundation as a separate entity was that they (we) didn't want RMS to 
have direct control over our money (as the Beanie award funds then 
sat in an FSF account).  He's a *member* of the GNOME Foundation, but 
he's not its (or the project's) leader.

Although I echo everyone who said that they would support whatever 
decision those actually doing the work make, if it were me, I'd have 
no problem discussing, even promoting non-free, useful GNOME apps.  
Make full disclosure, and let the community decide.


Russell Steinthal		Columbia Law School, Class of 2002
<rms39 columbia edu>		Columbia College, Class of 1999
<steintr nj org>		UNIX System Administrator,

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