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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] MAME

From: rain1
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] MAME
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016 17:13:22 +0100
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/1.0.6

On 2016-03-31 17:01, J.B. Nicholson wrote:
Julian Marchant wrote:
As far as I know, all Flash objects are non-libre.

How do you figure this?

This is the error in your reasoning: even if it's true that there is no
libre software at all available for any of the systems MAME emulates,
that doesn't necessarily mean that MAME requires proprietary software to
work. From our perspective, that case is no different from if no
software at all existed for the systems. That would make MAME useless
today, but not unethical.

I don't see how that addresses the inducement criteria listed in the
FSF's free distro guidelines and that isn't the situation with MAME.
If the only software one can run with MAME is nonfree then a distro
distributing MAME encourages the user to find that nonfree software.
As far as I can tell from the two mentions of inducing the user to run
nonfree software in the FSF's free distro guidelines (once in the
licensing section, another in the firmware section) inducement to run
nonfree software is important to avoid. This tells me MAME ought not
be a part of an FSF-approved free distro. Users who want MAME will
have a minor inconvenience of getting MAME another way.

Please reconsider in light of: The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).

It is a little worrying to me that people are talking about excluding a free software program - in fact a GPL2 licensed one - on the basis of what it might be used for. What if people started demanding removal of "hacking tools" [1] like gdb and nmap even though they are invaluable for debugging?

I'm not saying anyone is obligated to include this in their free distro but I hope a consensus will come that it is acceptable, as any free software program should be. Especially after they have gone through the work of re-licensing it as GPL2.

* [1]

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