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Re: [directory-discuss] 'Bait and surrender'

From: Ian Kelling
Subject: Re: [directory-discuss] 'Bait and surrender'
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2016 13:53:28 -0800

On Fri, Dec 9, 2016, at 01:36 PM, Svetlana Tkachenko wrote:
> > Perhaps I don't understand the point of this free software directory: Is
> > it 
> > the point of this free software directory to only list programs that
> > could 
> > be part of an FSF-approved free distribution?
> Before we can start listing programs which can NOT be a part of a free
> distribution, the free distributions should stop linking to the FSF
> Directory in any way or form. For example:
> - GNU IceCat addon manager's homepage is one of FSF Directory pages.
> - If any free distribution links to, then
> is linked from there.
> - If any free distribution links to, then is
> linked from there, and is linked from there.
> Svetlana

I agree with John, but I also think our guidelines are compatible with
the free software distribution guidelines and the whole fsd could be
distributed as part of the documentation in a free software distro.

We have the guideline: "All links and homepages of projects should point
to free software and free documentation.", and we are certainly trying
to avoid any recommendation of proprietary software. When we have some
software where there is a free version, but the project homepage points
to a non-free version, we don't link to it. Usually we can find a
download link which we can include which does not point to non-free

You wrote, "should not have any gateways to proprietary at all in any
form whatsoever", and gave an example of linking to one site, which
somewhere on it includes a bad links, but this is not what the free
software distribution guidelines say, and it would not be practical. The
free software distribution guidelines says "it must take care not to
recommend nonfree software." Icecat prominently includes links to
wikipedia and duckduckgo, and people use those to find software, and
they include tons of links to nonfree software, and I'm sure wikipedia
links are included in other parts of free software distros too. It
doesn't make them non-free. We can't blindly say that because somewhere
in a domain there are links to proprietary software, we won't link to
it. We are avoiding linking to pages on (is this the
addons manager you mention?), some we just haven't gotten to removed
yet. And remember that the fsd is a work in progress, and the free
software distribution guidelines say that mistakes are ok as long as
there is a strong commitment to correct them promptly when they get

How about making our own mirrors and project pages which don't recommend
free software? Yes, it would be nice, but doing other things are more
important right now and require much much less effort for the benefit
they will give. Specifically, increasing the quality and
comprehensiveness of our articles and the number of contributors should
be our primary focus. Ask, "how often does fsd get used when someone
tries to find some new free software for some task", I think it's
probably a low single digit percentage. Most people try searching
package descriptions in their gnu/linux repos and using web search
engines, and search engines don't link to the fsd very much. I find
Wikipedia to often be more useful than the fsd for finding free
software. Once that situation changes, then yes, I'd be happy to help.

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