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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] New GNU

From: Robert Martinez
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] New GNU
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 12:53:09 +0200
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On 14/05/12 05:23, address@hidden wrote:
I think that a labeling system is needed, for both hardware and software.   IMHO Software 
licenses are a good indicator, but it would be nice to have a logo or a small set of them 
that can be put on project websites and other appropriate places to say that it is Free 
Software, works w/ Free Software, or whatever other attributes may be desired... 
(possibly including a "Works w/ Proprietary software" label for those users 
just starting the transition, but not quite ready to break totally w/ the proprietary 

Hardware I think should have a labeling program as well, and I do NOT think the current FSF 
approach is viable because of it's exclusivity...  Simple fact, whether we like it or not, is that 
proprietary software has a bigger market share, so it is a heck of a lot more valuable for a 
computer maker to stamp his product "Works w/ Windows" than "Works w/ Free 
Software".  Much as I prefer Free Software, if I were a computer parts maker the choice 
between the two labels is a no-brainer, and the decision would not be kind to the FSF...

Right now I have to read the fine print on the box, and maybe it will have "Linux 
compatible" buried in the package somewhere...

Perhaps it would be possible to have a non-exclusive "Works w/ Gnu/Linux logo 
that manufacturers can put on their boxes, next to the evil symbols that we aren't 
going to displace - and possibly at least get a bit of extra interest, and help to 
dispel the popular notion that it's hard to find hardware that runs on Linux...

Probably several such logos could be developed -  In rough order of 
desirability - for accessories:
1. Has proprietary Linux Drivers
2. Needs no drivers, or has "binary blob" drivers in the kernel tree
3. Has Free drivers in the kernel tree

For stand alone devices -
1. Interoperates w/ free software
2. Uses at least some free software (i.e. current Android products) AND 
3. Allows partial replacement of code w/ owner supplied software, but may have 
proprietary bits.
4. "Hacker Friendly" - all code replaceable, no proprietary bits

Obviously a purist would prefer things w/ free drivers that are hacker 
friendly, but not everyone is comfortable with Dr. Stallman's level of purity, 
and I'd like to at least see SOMETHING that would help me when shopping, and 
provide a bit of added pressure to move in the direction of freedom.


Arthur Torrey

I think this is way too much for a bunch of reasons:

_This is too complicated. The point is to make things transparent - you propose to establish yet another complicated set of labels to a variable degree (and even you yourself don't see where to draw a line) _You obviously target free software enthusiasts, and try to make their life easier (which is nice ;) ) - but not the common user. Our goal should be to raise awareness among those who DON'T know the difference of, say, GPL, LGPL and GPLv3. _The hardware issue is unfortunately out of scope. The label I envision cannot and must not indicate hardware properties/compabilities/.... . It should be a _free software_ label. It makes no sense to put a sticker on hardware that promises some compatibility that cannot be verified. Even worse wen it claims to do so only to a "certain" degree. It is impossible to indicate a clear message that way.

A (one) simple indicator of respect for your software freedom (4 freedoms) is needed: a free software label. nothing more nothing less. The goal is to make this label so successfull and widespread that you eventually can start to make conclusions when you DON'T see it. So we will have almost NO benefit if just a handful of projects support it.
This would be a major undertaking.

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