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Re: [directory-discuss] directory purpose

From: Nomen Nescio
Subject: Re: [directory-discuss] directory purpose
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:22:03 +0100 (CET)

Svetlana Tkachenko said:

> > "Pass" is ambiguous here.  What do you mean by "pass"?  Are you
> > saying it's included in
> This means "a person who cares of freedom would be able to recognise
> this software is free, and would have no issues with running this
> software on their computer, were they given a copy of it".

Citation needed.

You just quoted someone without attribution.  How could anyone have
known this perversely specific and subjective criteria behind your
"pass/fail" claim?

In the future if you want to invent tests for things, good criteria
for tests are unambiguous and has little reliance on subjectivity.
Otherwise the test itself is unfit to function as a test.

> I don't believe the FSF Directory is a correct place to list freedom
> gaps; it only lists things which already are free.

Your use of the overloaded phrase "correct place" implies there's a
purpose (a hidden purpose, like your pass/fail criteria).  Certainly
it's clear from this comment that user freedom isn't high on your
(unstated) purpose, as the omissions of freedom abuse that you suggest
serve to subject users to freedom loss.

> It could be useful to list MS Word somewhere as a thing that needs a
> free replacement. But this is not a high priority, because free
> office suites already exist.

MS Word is terrible for your example, making it clearly

For a good example, pick a nonfree PDF tool that can decrypt a PDF
that was encrypted using aes256 pdf-spec'd key-based crypto.  The free
tool JSignPDF can create such a PDF, but no free tools can open such a
PDF.  JSignPDF (along with all other free PDF tools) is also incapable
of producing an unsigned PDF with the above crypto characteristics.
So Adobe Reader for example can serve as a nonfree tool that needs a
free replacement for the two functions I described.

To address your idea, it is unacceptible to (in
acknowledge the existence of non-free tools for which the destruction
of user freedom is obvious, because it encourages users to give up
their freedom for certain use-cases.  This is in fact the one
situation were it's least appropriate to acknowledge the existence of
non-free options.  Such a disclosure is better done in a
developer-centric area, not in a resource for end users.

> H-node uses this approach -- it lists non-free items as
> non-free. The FSF Directory usually did not do this before and it is
> very hard to do with semantic mediawiki.

There is no such technical limitation with mediawiki.  The nonfree
documentation flag already exists and it works.

>> When in fact such a package is the most important package you can
>> list, of course along with anti-feature banners.  This is how the
>> GNU user is best served.
> This is an opinion. I disagree with it; I deny the existence of
> non-free programs, except the ones GNU recognised as high priority
> and worth spending time to write a replacement for.

This is just an unsubstantiated position statement.

You've elected to disservice users by showing them obviously nonfree
options (thus making them aware of and creating temptation toward an
option that requires a compromise of their freedom), and yet at the
same time you would additionally deny users information that could
actually be used to protect their freedom by withholding flagging for
the non-obvious cases of freedom loss, ultimately enabling GNU users
to be mislead into selecting a non-free tool over a free one.

You've advocated against software freedom in both scenarios.  That is:

 scenario 1) Showing inherently nonfree options which have no free
             software replacement.  You've advocated for disclosure of
             of these non-free options in precisely the situation that
             can stimulate freedom loss.  This is the case where it's
             most important *not* to acknowledge nonfree software to

 scenario 2) Informing users of nonfree software that masquerades as
             freely licensed software.  This is the one situation
             where information disclosure can empower users to avoid
             oppressive software.  You've advocated for non-disclosure
             where the disclosure is most important.

Your viewpoints consistently put freedom-seeking users at the greatest

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