Re: Thanks, and a Brief Survey

On 1/17/10 6:52 AM, "Ciaran O'Riordan" <ciaran member fsf org> wrote:
> GNOME has a policy (written or not) that prohibits importing non-free
> into its repositories.

I'm not personally aware of a written policy to this effect. If there's an
"unwritten policy", I'd encourage the Board to write it down in clear and
explicit terms and get it agreed to by the membership, since there's not
necessarily any actual common understanding of what such a policy "says" or
means, if that's the case.

> "Open
source" doesn't imply any reason or policy for rejecting
> proprietary

I'm afraid I really have to disagree here: "open source software" is
software which is made available under a license which satisfies the Open
Source Definition which can be found at

Clause 1 of that definition states, in part, that "The license shall not
restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component
of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several
different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for
such sale."

Clause 2 states that "The program must include source code, and must allow
distribution in source code as well as compiled form."

Clause 3 states, in part, that "The license must allow modifications and
derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as
the license of the original software."

I could go on, but I think this demonstrates that there's no actual basis
for your claim, Ciaran, unless you're using the term "proprietary" in some
unusual sense. If you can give me a concrete example of software which is
proprietary, in the usual sense of the term, while still being available
under a valid open source license, I'd be very interested in hearing about

> ...GNOME is
a project that doesn't develop non-free software...

In your preferred terminology. I'd say is doesn't develop "non-open-source
software" in mine. We'd both be correct. I would never suggest that your
view was invalid, should be unrepresented, or that you weren't entirely
entitled to hold it. I'm only asking the same.

As I've said--and I think there's general agreement--there's no consensus on
which term is "correct" among the membership. Plenty of GNOME members use
the term "open source", myself included. Why should their choice of
terminology be denigrated in a statement that purports to represent them as
well as you?

I'm a member, you're a member, Philip's a member, and RMS is a member. We
have differing views here, and the statement should treat all parties

I'm not asking that the term "free software" not be used, in spite of _my_
not using it, nor do I believe is Philip. I'm simply asking that, since the
terminology _is_ debatable--and there has been no shortage of debates about
it, none of them terribly productive, and certainly none of them decisive--a
statement which represents us all not "settle the matter" by fiat.

> A quick comment on the survey.  I think the main flaw is that it tests
> for
word-for-word agreement with one person (RMS).

A somewhat less-quick response: I had intended the survey to test the
positions of the "free software movement" as expressed by the FSF on the one
hand, versus the actual attitudes of the community at large on the other. I
have to believe that RMS' statements on proprietary software can be taken as
being representative of, and authoritative with respect to, that

If that's not the case, I'd appreciate some concrete details of where I've
missed the actual views of the FSF, and how they differ from what I
understand them to be.

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