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[GNU-linux-libre] question about GNU FSDG compliance process

From: Giovanni Biscuolo
Subject: [GNU-linux-libre] question about GNU FSDG compliance process
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2019 16:13:02 +0100

Hello licensing team and gnu-linux-libre,

first: thank you all for your commitment!

please I have some questions and some comment on the subject

I'm following the address@hidden mailing list (I'm not a maintainer)
and in this thread
there was some controversy on the inclusion of a patched chromium
version in Guix [1]

questions arosed in this discussion are not specific to Guix nor to
chromium but - in my view - involves the entire compliance process and
periodic reviev

in particular Bill Auger in this message
wrote some interesting comments:

bill-auger <address@hidden> writes:


> about a year ago, the FSDG review process and criteria for endorsement
> of new distros

AFAIK documented in this page:

shouldn't that page be linked in the official GNU FSDG Guidelines page
[2] so that the endorsement process is clear to everyone reading the

I already knew GNU FSDG Guidelines page but I was not aware of "Incoming
distros" page since Saturday

> was updated - the new FSDG criteria checklist

for reference [3] 

> for community review that was adopted includes the following essential
> criteria:
>   "Programs commonly known to have freedom issues are liberated or
>   excluded"

the "Sample Checklist" section on [3] states:

"[...] The text of each criteria in the checklist table is a hyper-link
to the relevant section of the FSDG. [...]"

but that is not true, since the criteria cited above ("Programs commonly
known to have...") links to a resource _outside_ the official GNU FSDG,
**extending** it with a new criteria

my question is: is that "Software blacklist" [4] a mandatory criteria

if it has to be a criteria, shouldn't be better to update the official
GNU FSDG page?

my opinion is that the "Software blacklist" [4] is a valuable *tool*
for evaluators but should _not_ be considered as part of GNU FSDG itself

> that criteria is a link to the "software that does not respect the
> FSDG" wiki page, which includes an entry for 'chromium-browser' (the
> debian package name) with the liberation procedure being specified as:
>   "Remove program/package Use GNU IceCat, or equivalent"

if the "Software blacklist" is to be considered mandatory, then every
distro including a blacklisted entry should be considered "non

IMHO the evaluation process should be more articulated than a check on a
blacklist; the case of "ungoogled-chrome in Guix" is a nice example of
the shortcoming of this approach

actually the FSDG Reviev Guide [5] clearly states:

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
You can do a similar check to see if any of the packages listed on the
List of software that does not respect the Free System Distribution
Guidelines are included in the distribution. Don't assume that there's a
problem just because the distribution includes a package named on that
page, though: a lot of the entries suggest solutions that help the
software comply with the guidelines without removing it
completely. You'll have to check yourself to see whether or not the free
distribution has taken those steps. Usually, that's as simple as
comparing version numbers.
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

so IMHO including "Software blacklist" [4] in the checklist [3] is
in direct contradiction with the above statement

> that created an uncomfortable pressure point for any distro that wants
> to distribute this browser - according to the literal reading of that
> criteria,

the question is precisely this: should the "Software blacklist" [4] be
"literally read"?


> it was also agreed upon at that time, that the FSDG criteria should be
> applicable to all currently endorsed distros in perpetuity, so ...

so, again: is really "Software blacklist" an FSDG criteria?


> if chromium enters the guix repo it will almost surely be followed by a
> freedom bug report (which per the current FSDG criteria, would be fully
> justifiable)

i feel some clarification in gnu-linux-libre is needed on this process
and on the status of "Software blacklist" [4] page


thanks for listening!

P.S.: please consider that this interesting summary on
chromium status:
is not referenced in [4] while IMHO it should be

[1] this is the specific Guix issue



"Software blacklist" redirects to


Giovanni Biscuolo

Xelera IT Infrastructures

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