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[directory-discuss] To the list administrators and to Anonymous (was: Re

From: Svetlana Tkachenko
Subject: [directory-discuss] To the list administrators and to Anonymous (was: Re: directory purpose)
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:01:59 +1100

Hello Sir Anonymous,

I would suggest that you stop discussing this on the list and take it somewhere else where you can be understood. Otherwise it is a waste of what is already about a month of time. There are issues with your communication:
I encourage you to attend a local course on written communication and a psychologist and bring him the printout of all threads on this topic.  Before you fix your communication style, please come to libreplanet and discuss any of the issues in person.

Dear List Administrators (Jgay, Donald, et al), I had already asked this person to take the communication elsewhere and they are continuing to post. I believe we reached a point when it is disruptive and has been ping-ponging for over a month and clogging the list. Please look into it as you run this list.


Please pardon me if I am being too arrogant or mean; I have low tolerance to non-productive communication and a several-months discussion appears to me to be it.

A sample included below.

Nomen Nescio <address@hidden> wrote:
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?

It is my own quote. I put it into quotation marks to stress that this quote is a replacement for one word.

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.

I read this paragraph once and didn't understand it. Please connect it to the subject matter at question and reword it in a way that relates.

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

How is it terrible?

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.

This is a complex example and I did not read it because I lack motivation to do so, given that you didn't relate it to the context.

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.

This is not a thing we did before and 'free software directory' ≠ 'nonfree software gaps directory' so I think such information belongs somewhere else on another site.

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.

Yes, but then the items show up in search results and confuse users. I wouldn't say this is a 'working' approach. I also would like to give semantic mediawiki as well as all of us a huge yell for not providing fsf directory users with faceter search results where they can tick categories in a left-side sidebar and search by categories overlap such as 'works with pdf: yes' 'ui toolkit: qt' and so on.

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),

I didn't show them obviously nonfree options no, where did you take that from?

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


I would encourage you to use a non-email method of communication as a means to go forward in this issue.


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