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

From: Franz Gratzer
Subject: Re: [directory-discuss] To the list administrators and to Anonymous (was: Re: directory purpose)
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:55:08 +0100

Sorry to comment on this as a user who didn't help with keeping the
directory up to date beside just providing information on the one
project I'm volunteering for.

I have been following this tiresome discussion for quite some time.

As I understand it the basic argument from the FSF always was that a
program doesn't need to share documentation or the source code if it
wasn't published since then there is no need for it.

Based on that thought I would argue that GNU radio can't do something
wrong if I can't get it without using non-free tools as long as I can
get the documentation for it once I get hold of a copy (which might be
only possible by using non-free tools).

Therefore, the question at hand to me is if it is sensible to call a
program that you can't obtain without non-free tools free software. A
quick consideration of how free software was created initially should
make clear that before a whole free system was available you could only
use non-free software to even run free software.

And even nowadays most free software users still use a free operating
system on top of non-free components for their hardware. Only a few do
actually use libre boot and it hasn't been around for very long yet.

Therefore, even relying on non-free components as a base doesn't make a
program itself non-free.

That's the reason why I would argue that how GNU radio can be obtained
is even less of a problem. I wouldn't consider a program that is
impossible to get by using free software only as violating the
principles behind the free software movement.

Obviously we would like to have software that is available without
unnecessary barriers but this issue does not touch the question if the
particular software can be considered to be free software. In my opinion
it would be sufficient to explain with a sentence in the description
that GNU radio (or its documentation) is only available with the already
lengthy discussed barrier on the project web page.

Sorry for making a lengthy discussion even longer.

All the best,

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