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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] programming language package manager

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] programming language package manager
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2016 15:03:49 -0400

  > A lot of programming languages have own Package Manager
  > Examples of those packages managers: npm (CSS/JavaScript), Bower
  > (Web), pip (Python), Ruby Gems (Ruby),
  > CPAN (Perl), Cargo (Rust), ...

These repositories with nonfree software a real problem.  However, we
don't run these repositories, and we have nothing to do with them.
That is a big obstacle to trying to correct the problem.

But we should try.

I see two possible approaches, for each repository.

* Ask the people that run those repositories to stop recommending
nonfree software.

* Make free replacement repositories, and modify our versions
of those packages to use the free ones.  We would fill
free replacement repositories with the free packages from
the existing repositories.

We can use the two approaches in parallel; if we are careful, they can
support each other.  When the maintainers of a repository see we are
serious about making our own free-only repository, they may reconsider
whether to keep accepting nonfree software in their repository.

The root problem is at the level of ideas.  The developers of those
languages do not support the free software movement.  (They probably
say "open source".)  This leads them to think that nonfree software is
legitimate.  I would guess they have adopted a misguided goal of
"helping people write programs" and never mind freedom.

We need to spread the idea that repositories should not accept
nonfree software because nonfree software is unjust.

Making free replacement repositories is a good platform for spreading
this message.

Since there are so many different problem repositories, I think we can't
try to deal with them all at once.  We should look for volunteers to make
replacement repositories for a couple of them, based on automatic
filtering not manual vetting.

If you can make such a filtered free repository privately, the FSF
can arrange to host it for public use.

Is anyone interested in doing work on this?

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (,
Internet Hall-of-Famer (
Skype: No way! See

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