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

From: Giovanni Biscuolo
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] question about GNU FSDG compliance process
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2019 12:24:47 +0100


bill-auger <address@hidden> writes:

> the first thing i would wat to say is that no one wants to refer to
> that list as a "Software blacklist"

it was just to point out that this page

should be updated, since there "The List" is called "Software blacklist"

(OT: maybe the whole FSDG set of pages should be "refactored" and kept
consistent with the GNU correspondig ones,

> a blacklist implies that something is to be shunned, and permanently
> so - the main point of that list is not only to point out programs that
> have known problems, but more importantly to offer known recipes for how
> they can be liberated and used in freedom

and should be open to be reviwed if someone finds a way to liberate one
of the listed software

in a recent message [1] on this mailing list you said:

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
     about a year ago, the FSDG review process and criteria for endorsement
     of new distros was updated - the new FSDG criteria checklist for
     community review that was adopted includes the following essential

       "Programs commonly known to have freedom issues are liberated or

     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"


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


     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

--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

that made me think that you were using "The List" as a blacklist, I'm
glad I was wrong


> what is clear though is that the current wording of the review process
> prevents any new distro from passing beyond the community review stage
> if it distributes chromium;

this is in direct contraddiction with the concept of "the list is not a

please consider the FSDG Review Guide
clearly states:

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
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, please, let's use "The List" as a useful tool for addressing
problems *and* be open to enhance or update that list as soon as new
useful information is available

"The List" should keep track of the current status of discussion
(mailing list archives are not the best source of updated information on
this matter) at least with a link to the relevant new information, so
each reviewer have a possibly complete view of current situation

(OT: yes, ungoogled-chromium situation is complex, but please do not
complicate it (I'm speaking in general, not personally to you Bill))

> so it is at least, effectively mandatory for
> new incoming distros - i think we would all want to see all FSDG rules
> applied equally to all FSDG distros, present and future - it is very
> unsettling, embarrassing even, if distros contradict each other
> regarding what is FSDG-free and what is not

Bill: to flatten the discussion of what is FSDG-free or not on a _word_
(chromium-browser) included in "The List" is even more embarrassing

> i do think this is among
> the highest priorities for the group, especially now that this potential
> for conflict has been instantiated with an example

as far as I can see the conflict arises *only* if "The List" is misused,
maybe we should find a way to prevent this kind of conflict: IMHO the
words I cited above from the FSDG Guideline are probably clearer than
this whole thread, but maybe I'm oversimplifiyng

*if* (I really don't know, I did not follow the review process) "The
List" _alone_ was used to force some distribution to remove some
package, IMHO that was a mistake 

> as for the list itself, it is actually relatively short today compared
> to what it could be, and is not as well curated as it could be - it has
> been discussed how it could be refined and expanded to be a prime
> resource to anyone who wishes to customize one of those programs - if
> done well, there no reason why it should not be mandatory IMHO;

I strongly disagree, but who am I to tell?!? :-)


> the bottom line is that all this work is done by volunteers, including
> the review of new distros - in order to do a better job or to do more,
> more volunteers are needed to review software, discuss issues, and
> document the results

just to be clear: each and every volunteer helping pointing out FSDG
related issues deserves our gratest gratitude, seriously

...just please be precise when reporting FSDG issues, like suggested
here: (Detailed instructions)

thanks for listening!


Giovanni Biscuolo

Xelera IT Infrastructures

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