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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Call for testing: Qumble: Open-Source Software

From: Alexey Eromenko
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Call for testing: Qumble: Open-Source Software distribution for Windows
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 13:18:58 +0000

>> by providing collection of such software on a single disc, plus
>> providing video (such as the Revolution O.S. trailer, in WebM
>> format) and open-source books (The cathedral and the bazaar and others).

>How does any of this promote free software? It promotes a bunch of
>programs, films and books -- but how does any of this teach the user
>that they need to value their freedom?

Books such as "The cathedral and the bazaar" promote community-driven
development, which is beneficial to Open-Source and to Free Software

Video, such as "Revolution OS" also speaks about Free Software
philosophy quite much. Making it in WebM format makes that statement
even more bold.

Why didn't I made a Linux bootable CD/USB ?
Because Qumble is much less intrusive to Windows' users workflow. They
can keep playing Windows games, and use Windows-only software
(IE/Photoshop/MS-Office) and try this software same time, side by
side. It gives much smoother learning curve for Windows users, vs. the
bumpy road of a full distro or mini-distro.

However, I do put a VirtualBox virtualizer, so our users could try out
a full GNU/Linux based system. (but I gave no links for actual
downloads of images...)

Why didn't I named it "Free Software" ?
I could put a GNU logo (that GNU cow)... but it has implications, like
from any brand:
Users will start asking for Debian-like freedom or higher standard,
which I cannot provide.

Specifically, some minor parts of Qumble are not 100% Free Software.
1. Audacity binary ships with unlicensed MP3 decoder. (but encoder is
Ogg Vorbis)
2. VirtualBox binary requires MS compiler to build (Driver Development
Kit; DDK), but not to run.
3. Qumble disc browser (under LGPL) itself written in Visual Basic,
and so it requires a MS compiler.
4. 7-zip ships with the non-free *.rar decoder. (Debian, obviously,
cut this "unrar" part away...)
5. Because I take pre-build binaries, and ship together with upstream
sources, but I don't build the apps myself, there is no 100% guarantee
that all parts of my distro are build-able.

Now attempting to fix any of those is beyond my current capabilities.
I mostly ship whatever Windows binaries upstream provide, with some
exceptions, where I build custom setup. (like for TuxRacer).
Now, smoothing corners is allowed in the Open-Source movement, but is
a no-no in pure Free Software movement.

Maybe 2 and 3 is 'OK' provided, that this project is done under
Windows environment. Debian for example requires all the compilers to
be also Free Software for all of it's packages, but I think in this
case this requirement needs to be relaxed.

Anyway, the Qumble also intends to broaden the Free Software ecosystem
(Firefox lessens IE power, LibreOffice lessens MS-Office format
lock-in, and so on...). Success of Qumble means reduced dependency on
proprietary vendor lock-in.

-Alexey Eromenko "Technologov"

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