Re: GNOME: lack of strategic roadmap
- From: Richard Stallman <rms gnu org>
- To: Dave Neary <dneary gnome org>
- Cc: foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: GNOME: lack of strategic roadmap
- Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 09:26:46 -0500
Freedom from slavery is a means to an
end, the "end" being a just society with no racial discrimination and
equal opportunity for all.
Freedom is not merely a means to achieve something else. It is
necessary in its own right. Mere equality of opportunity is
inadequate if it doesn't mean freedom.
In the same way, freedom for computer users is a means to an end - that
end being that we provide a better computing environment than
proprietary alternatives, and not simply a functional free environment.
This is not the philosophy that GNOME was founded on.
We launched GNOME to gain freedom because we demand freedom.
There is no substitute.
A free computing environment is always better than proprietary
alternatives. It is better ethically and socially, because of
freedom. Of course, we would like to make it better in practical ways
too. But we should not treat freedom as a secondary goal.
If a computer user can be free, but will end up with an inferior
computing environment because of it, he may welcome returning to a
proprietary environment, as many Mac OS X users & free software
If he doesn't appreciate freedom as such, he might indeed do that. To
avoid that we need to take two kinds of steps:
A. Try to make GNOME better in practical ways too.
B. Teach him to appreciate freedom, so he will recognize that the
proprietary programs are inherently inferior ethically.
It makes sense to work on both of them in parallel, according
to the opportunities that occur.
This is where the open source discourse is weak. It fails to do B.
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