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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Reviewing ConnochaetOS

From: Ivan Zaigralin
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Reviewing ConnochaetOS
Date: Sun, 06 Aug 2017 12:22:26 -0700
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On Sunday, August 06, 2017 09:37:16 Jason Self wrote:
> Henry Jensen <address@hidden> wrote ..
> > The link to the freeslack project shouldn't be a problem, since
> > the page at links
> > to the very same project.
> There is no reference to FreeSlack on that page, only Slackware.

You do not consider a web link a reference? Both the cited FSF page and the 
FSFLA Linux-libre page link to the FreeSlack project.

> But even if we consider Slackware, what is being said also be
> considered: That page is discussing why Slackware is not acceptable
> for adding as an FSF-endorsed distro.
> In comparison, the text I'm referring to is an out-and-out referral to
> go *use* it if someone wants a 64-bit version: "If you are looking for
> a libre Slackware x86_64 variant you are welcome to use the x86_64
> slack-n-free repo and have a look at the FreeSlack project."

Please do not confuse FreeSlack with Slackware, the names are not THAT 
similar, and if you read the statement on the front wiki page, you will see 
FreeSlack is a documentation project which is NOT affiliated with Slackware 
project, and its distribution arm is free software. The distribution name may 
be A BIT confusing, which is why we are in the process of changing it to FXP 
or Freenix or something else, which is up to FSF at this point. We applied for 
FSDG certification in March 2016, and so far we haven't heard any suggestions 
from the FSF review team besides changing the name collision, which we agreed 
to do. Since then several months have passed, and we have not heard any 
comment about either "FXP" or "Freenix", leaving us in a kind of a nameless 
limbo. So at present, we think, we have zero outstanding issues with respect 
to FSDG.

> I imagine that FSF-endorsed distros should probably not steer people
> to others that are not?

That would be a gross misrepresentation of the FSDG guidelines. Free 
distributions should not stir people towards non-free software, period. ConnOS 
is free software, which is why here at FreeSlack we think it's OK to mention 
them as an option for x32 arch. The FreeSlack's distribution, FXP, is also 
free software, Linux-libre-powered and without the Debian kernel controversy, 
so of course there are no issues about ConnOS linking to FreeSlack either. 
None of that has any bearing on FSDG compliance.

I would agree that IF a Debian-style kernel SUGGESTS and STIRS users towards 
firmaware blobs, then the kernel should fail the FSDG. I am not in the 
position to comment on the specific kernel used in ConnOS, since I never 
studied that portion.

I am also personally of the opinion that it's OK for an FSDG-compliant 
distribution to suggest an option which is free, although not necessarily 
FSDG-compliant. There's nothing wrong, IMHO, about informing users about 
Debian-style free kernels as viable options as long as the users are warned 
about the blobs. I know not everyone will agree, since this is kind of a gray 
area, but I think you can all understand my reasoning: at some point the user 
should admit some responsibility.

Like RMS said, of course free software will allow you to install and run 
nonfree software, there's no cure for that, and it's not even a tragedy of any 
sort. But we don't declare web browsers nonfree, even though most of the big 
ones, like konqueror, are designed to drop the user into the javascript trap 
by default. We just admit that users should know better than to enable 
javascript on pages they don't trust to serve 100% free software.

There's only so much hand-holding we can do as distro-maintainers, and 
preventing user from exploring viable 100% free-software options such as the 
libre channel of the Debian repository is simply not our job. There's no 
contradiction here, as far as I can see: FSF should not endorse Debian-style 
shenanigans if it doesn't want to, but FSF has no business telling other 
projects, even the one they endorse, to stop mentioning free software 
compilations which themselves fell short of FSDG.

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