Re: GNOME: lack of strategic roadmap

On Fri, 2010-02-26 at 21:32 -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:
> If people are going to use Facebook, they should access it with free software.
> And it is useful for GNOME to do a good job of that.


I wish you and the FSF would focus more on user rights and licensing of
(meta)data coming from websites like Facebook, and that you'd focus less
on demeaning insinuations to GNOME programmers that they know not about

Such websites and services are becoming increasingly important in the
real market.

If you'd care about the freedom of the population of this world, you'd
see that this is an area of focus and importance.

Just my two cents.

> At the same time, using Facebook is a harmful practice.  It gives a
> misleading impression of privacy, it has close ties with the CIA and
> probably lets the CIA look at everything people upload.  (See
>  It uses
> Flash format for video, which is harmful to free software.  Some of
> its services are SaaS, which takes away control of your computing
> just as proprietary software does.

> So if GNOME is to provide a special feature for using Facebook, it
> should also warn people that they shouldn't trust Facebook with
> anything sensitive.  It should make sure Gnash is installed for
> playing Flash, rather than lead people to install non-free Adobe
> software.  And it should not do anything to facilitate or encourage
> use of the SaaS features of Facebook.

Sure, I think such a warning should indeed be included in the UI work
that I'll let Adrian Bustany work on next few weeks.

I don't think we need ethics-teachings about this. We GNOME programmers
know. We do.

> (Can anyone tell me what what an "empathy account" does and what an
> f-spot export configuration does?)

You had a discussion with Ruben Vermeersh earlier, Ruben is a F-Spot
developer. I'm sure he can give you an answer (he's added in CC).

> It is also important to give equally good support to other systems
> people can use for telling each other about events; for instance,
> social networking sites of the free software community, and
> peer-to-peer methods.  This way, GNOME won't favor Facebook over those
> other methods.

Yes, as I posted in my earlier E-mail there are metadata miners for
flickr, twitter, etc. The service where the metadata ends up being
stored locally (Tracker's store) uses RDF with Nepomuk as ontology and
allows access to the metadata through SPARQL.

RDF, Nepomuk and SPARQL are all free standards and have multiple free
implementations (the "free" definition that FSF uses).

The problem with for example Facebook is that it's uncertain that this
metadata can be stored separately from Facebook for unlimited time.



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

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