Re: foundation-list Digest, Vol 68, Issue 13

On Sat, 2009-12-12 at 15:49 -0600, Brian Cameron wrote:

Note that I've been cutting a bit in the "> reply" text.

> Richard is free to suggest what he thinks should be done, as are we
> all. The GNOME Foundation is free to resolve this problem in the way
> that we think makes the most sense, after discussion.

You forget to mention, however, that Richard is a key figure of the FSF
& GNU movements. He's saying that the minimal support of GNOME, to be
part of GNU, is claiming that proprietary software is illegitimate.

Today he's softening his tone, but he's still requesting this. 

> I think that, in general, most people in the GNOME community think
> highly of free software and are interested in promoting it.

That's relevant for emotions, but irrelevant to the request of Richard.

A rational thing to do, then, is to have a vote about it. 


If promoting Free Software is claiming that proprietary is illegitimate
then perhaps a lot of people will no longer want to promote this version
of "Free Software" anymore?

I have doubts that there are mostly GNOME contributors who have as
philosophy that you can't be owner of your own work. That's the
inconvenience of claiming that proprietary software is illegitimate:

  It makes it illegitimate to have a decision about your own work. If I
  say that my work X is open, then I say that. Because I'm its owner.
  Therefor must I be intellectually honest and admit that proprietary
  software too, is legitimate. My rights are his rights. We share them.

Look at how much discussion the required copyright ownership transfer
for some of the GNOME projects creates. It illustrates that philosophy:

  Those people want to say that their work Y must remain free. They can
  say that, because they are owner, until they transfer copyright.

  JUST like how I can say that my work Z must remain closed.

I can be convinced that it's better for humanity, myself, world piece,
kittens to make Z open instead. I have been convinced of that many
times. Yes. But force me, and I'll revolt against you. 

Richard's claim that proprietary is illegitimate is enforcement. He's
making a philosophic mistake that contradicts his own ideology of free

I'm one of the people who rejects Richard's position as leader of the
Free Software movement. For me, and many other coders & doers, he has
lost that position a long time ago. Because of this philosophy of him.

He's dragging the Free Software Foundation and GNU down with him.

I really hope that some day he'll understand this, because he's harming
the whole movement in a most fundamental way. 

Free choice isn't enforceable. You can only convince people of it.

> I think Richard has correctly highlighted the fact that the GNOME
> Planet could better promote free software.

That's not his only request, though. He's requesting GNOME to claim that
proprietary software is illegitimate. Let's focus on that.

I already quoted his words, and they are in the archives.

> Figuring out how to make GNOME Planet better promote GNOME and free
> software is probably a better way to focus on this problem.
See lower

> > I'm against the proposal because the planet is doing just fine. Why is
> > that so hard for some people to accept?
> I agree with you that trying to use tags to solve this problem is not
> the best way to solve the problem, for the reasons you highlight.
> However, since this problem seems to really happen only on rare
> occasion, and since it does not seem that any non-free organizations
> are really trying to use GNOME Planet to do any real advertising,
> then perhaps a disclaimer link to highlight the GNOME community's stance
> on the issue, and to provide educational links to people who want to
> learn more about the importance of free software, would be a reasonable
> improvement.

We already do this:

GNOME is...

o. Free

GNOME is Free Software and part of the GNU project, dedicated to giving
users and developers the ultimate level of control over their desktops,
their software, and their data. Find out more about the GNU project and
Free Software at

I don't know why every single project and sub-webpage must repeat this.

What I do miss is a direct link to GNOME's About page at the top of the
page. Adding that link isn't worth this thread. Just add it already.

Philip Van Hoof, freelance software developer
home: me at pvanhoof dot be 
gnome: pvanhoof at gnome dot org

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