relationship between GNOME and GNU, GNOME Foundation and FSF

Miguel wrote:

> Bradley admitted then that this ["GNU/Linux" vs. "Linux"] was the sole
> point where GNU and GNOME had grown apart.

I apologize if we miscommunicated; I certainly didn't intend to say that.
I didn't get much time with the Board to get the message across, so I
certainly understand how there could have been a confusion.

I made the point then (and still feel now) that the main divide between
GNU and GNOME is one concerning core principles of software freedom.  At
times, some leaders in the GNOME community and the GNOME Foundation appear
willing to compromise in ways that we at the GNU project and FSF feel
compromise some principles of software freedom.

These compromises are sometimes made in the name popularity, or in the
name of "convenience" to GNOME users who want proprietary software
programs that work with GNOME.  We would like to first and foremost set up
a structure where we have clear lines of communication so that the GNOME
community (and the GNOME Foundation that represents it) understand what we
(at the GNU Project and FSF) are asking for and why.  I hope that we can
move toward a situation where we fully understand each other, so that
these kinds of confusions ("it's only about language and terminology") are
no longer common.

I believe that issues of terminology are only symptoms of this more
deep-rooted divide.  I hope that we can address the differences in that
context, and see where we can get over the long haul.  There is no easy
solution here.  I hope that we can set aside past rancor and work together
on these issues.  That work that will take time and resources for both

I do agree with Mike Newman's earlier post -- this is a question of trust.
The GNOME Project and the GNU Project need to learn to trust each other
again.  Meanwhile, the organizations that represent the two projects
(GNOME Foundation and Free Software Foundation) need to learn to build a
new trust from the ground up.

There are lots of ways we can proceed in building and/or rebuilding this
trust.  One way is for the GNOME membership to give serious consideration
to RMS as a candidate for the Board -- which I hope they will do.  Another
parallel way is to address the matter through the Advisory Board, as
Daniel Veillard suggested.  I do hope that FSF will be invited to future
Advisory Board meetings.  I don't know how often they occur, but the last
one we knew about was in April 2002, which FSF was not invited to and
found out about after the fact.  I hope that doesn't happen again.

Finally, I wanted to let everyone know that at all levels within FSF, we
would like to work as closely with the GNOME Foundation as you are
willing.  In that vein, I asked one of the FSF staffers, David Turner, to
take some time to attend the recent Boston GNOME Summit.  I understand he
was able to contribute usefully to the community by assisting a number of
developers with their licensing questions (which is Dave's area of
expertise).  I hope that FSF can continue to provide that and other kinds
of expertise and support to the GNOME community and the GNOME Foundation

FSF's phone number is in the .sig below.  I want everyone in the GNOME
world to know that they can phone me, or email me at any time.  RMS, while
not often reachable by phone, will surely be happy to answer emails from
all of you.  In general, if there is anything we can do to help GNOME, or
any ideas anyone has about how to rebuild the trust, we want to hear them.
FSF is committed at every level to making the relationship with the GNOME
Foundation better.  We hope that commitment will be reciprocated.

Bradley M. Kuhn, Executive Director
Free Software Foundation   |  Phone: +1-617-542-5942
59 Temple Place, Suite 330 |  Learn more about FSF and how you can help:
Boston, MA 02111-1307  USA |

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