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www/philosophy install-fest-devil.html

From: Ineiev
Subject: www/philosophy install-fest-devil.html
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2019 09:02:47 -0400 (EDT)

CVSROOT:        /web/www
Module name:    www
Changes by:     Ineiev <ineiev> 19/03/19 09:02:47

Added files:
        philosophy     : install-fest-devil.html 

Log message:
        New page, RT #1370093.


Index: install-fest-devil.html
RCS file: install-fest-devil.html
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--- /dev/null   1 Jan 1970 00:00:00 -0000
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+<!--#include virtual="/server/header.html" -->
+<!-- Parent-Version: 1.87 -->
+<title>Install Fests - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
+<!--#include virtual="/server/gnun/initial-translations-list.html" -->
+<!--#include virtual="/server/banner.html" -->
+<h2>Install Fests: What to Do about the Deal with the Devil</h2>
+<p>by Richard Stallman</p>
+<blockquote><p>Published for <a href="https://libreplanet.org/2019";>
+LibrePlanet March 23/24 2019</a></p></blockquote>
+<p>Install fests invite users to bring their computers so that experts
+can install GNU/Linux on them.  This is meant to promote the idea of
+free software as well as the use of free software.  In practice, these
+two goals conflict: users that want to reject nonfree software
+entirely need to choose their computers carefully to achieve that
+<p>The problem is that most computers can't run with a completely free
+GNU/Linux distro.  They contain peripherals, or coprocessors, that
+won't operate unless the installed system contains some nonfree drivers or
+firmware.  This happens because hardware manufacturers refuse to tell
+us how to use their products, so that the only way to figure out how
+is by reverse engineering, which in most cases has not yet been done.</p>
+<p>This presents the install fest with a dilemma.  If it upholds the
+ideals of freedom, by installing only free software from 
+<a href="/distros/distros.html">100%-free distros</a>, partly-secret
+machines won't become entirely functional and the users that bring
+them will go away disappointed.  However, if the install fest installs
+nonfree distros and nonfree software which make machines entirely
+function, it will fail to teach users to say no for freedom's sake.
+They may learn to like GNU/Linux, but they won't learn what the free
+software movement stands for.  In effect, the install fest makes a
+tacit deal with the devil that suppresses the free software movement's
+message about freedom and justice.</p>
+<p>The nonfree software means the user sacrifices freedom for
+functionality.  If users had to wrestle with this choice, they could
+draw a moral lesson from it, and maybe get a better computer later.
+But when the install fest makes the compromise on the user's behalf,
+it shelters the user from the moral dimension; the user never sees
+that something other than convenience is at stake.  In effect, the
+install fest makes the deal with the devil, on the user's behalf,
+behind a curtain so the user doesn't recognize that it is one.</p>
+<p>I propose that the install fest show users exactly what deal they are
+making.  Let them talk with the devil individually, learn the deal's
+bad implications, then make a deal&mdash;or refuse!</p>
+<p>As always, I call on the install fest itself to install only free
+software, taking a strict stance.  In this way it can set a clear
+moral example of rejecting nonfree software.</p>
+<p>My new idea is that the install fest could allow the devil to hang
+around, off in a corner of the hall, or the next room.  (Actually, a
+human being wearing sign saying &ldquo;The Devil,&rdquo; and maybe a toy mask 
+horns.)  The devil would offer to install nonfree drivers in the
+user's machine to make more parts of the computer function, explaining
+to the user that the cost of this is using a nonfree (unjust) program.</p>
+<p>The install fest would tolerate the devil's presence but not
+officially sponsor the devil, or publicize the devil's availability.
+Therefore, the users who accept the devil's deal would clearly see
+that the devil installed the nonfree drivers, not the install fest.
+The install fest would not be morally compromised by the devil's
+actions, so it could retain full moral authority when it talks about
+the imperative for freedom.</p>
+<p>Those users that get nonfree drivers would see what their moral cost
+is, and that there are people in the community who refuse to pay that
+cost.  They would have the chance to reflect afterwards on the
+situation that their flawed computers have put them in, and about how
+to change that situation, in the small and in the large.</p>
+<p>The install fest should offer advice to users that would like to
+replace some of the machine's components with alternatives that do
+support free software, and recommend commercial and noncommercial
+sources of assistance including fsf.org/resources/hw for getting a
+computer that works fully without nonfree drivers and blobs.</p>
+<p>It should also suggest to these users that they send letters of
+criticism to the companies that make or sell the components that
+depend on nonfree software to function.</p>
+<p>The install-fest devil has nothing to do with the cute BSD demon, and
+the install fest should make that very clear.  This issue concerns the
+difference between various GNU/Linux distros, and is not about BSD.
+Indeed, the same approach could be used for installation of BSD.</p>
+<p>This devil would be a human being disguised to teach a moral lesson
+with a theatrical metaphor, so let's not take the metaphor too far.  I
+think we would do well not to say that users are &ldquo;selling their 
+if they install nonfree software&mdash;rather, part of their own freedom
+is what they forfeit.  We don't need to exaggerate to teach the point
+that trading your freedom for convenience (and leading others to do
+the same) is
+<a href="https://www.fsfla.org/circular/2007-02.en.html#1";>
+putting yourself in a moral jam</a>.</p>
+<p>The devil's work would be something I don't approve of&mdash;installing
+nonfree software&mdash;so I will not get involved in discussing the
+practical details.  But it is hard to trust a devil to do wrong only
+within certain limits.  What is to stop the devil from offering to
+install a GNU/Linux distro such as Ubuntu, which offers the user other
+attractive nonfree programs, not solely the ones needed for the
+machine's hardware to function at all?  Or even offering to install
+Windows?  The people who run the install fest should ask some users
+what the devil did to their computers.</p>
+<p>Isn't it morally better if the install fest doesn't allow the devil?
+Certainly!  The FSF will not let a devil hang around its events.  But
+given the fact that most install fests quietly play the role of the
+devil, I think that an explicit devil would be less bad.  It would
+convert the install-fest dilemma from a debilitating contradiction
+into a teaching experience.  Users would be able to get, if they
+insist, the nonfree drivers to make their peripherals run, then use
+GNU/Linux knowing that there is a further step toward freedom that
+they should take.</p>
+</div><!-- for id="content", starts in the include above -->
+<!--#include virtual="/server/footer.html" -->
+<div id="footer">
+<div class="unprintable">
+<p>Please send general FSF &amp; GNU inquiries to
+<a href="mailto:address@hidden";>&lt;address@hidden&gt;</a>.
+There are also <a href="/contact/">other ways to contact</a>
+the FSF.  Broken links and other corrections or suggestions can be sent
+to <a href="mailto:address@hidden";>&lt;address@hidden&gt;</a>.</p>
+<p><!-- TRANSLATORS: Ignore the original text in this paragraph,
+        replace it with the translation of these two:
+        We work hard and do our best to provide accurate, good quality
+        translations.  However, we are not exempt from imperfection.
+        Please send your comments and general suggestions in this regard
+        to <a href="mailto:address@hidden";>
+        &lt;address@hidden&gt;</a>.</p>
+        <p>For information on coordinating and submitting translations of
+        our web pages, see <a
+        href="/server/standards/README.translations.html">Translations
+        README</a>. -->
+Please see the <a
+README</a> for information on coordinating and submitting translations
+of this article.</p>
+<!-- Regarding copyright, in general, standalone pages (as opposed to
+     files generated as part of manuals) on the GNU web server should
+     be under CC BY-ND 4.0.  Please do NOT change or remove this
+     without talking with the webmasters or licensing team first.
+     Please make sure the copyright date is consistent with the
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+     being publicly visible on the web or in a revision control system).
+     There is more detail about copyright years in the GNU Maintainers
+     Information document, www.gnu.org/prep/maintain. -->
+<p>Copyright &copy; 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc.</p>
+<p>This page is licensed under a <a rel="license"
+Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License</a>.</p>
+<!--#include virtual="/server/bottom-notes.html" -->
+<p class="unprintable">Updated:
+<!-- timestamp start -->
+$Date: 2019/03/19 13:02:47 $
+<!-- timestamp end -->
+</div><!-- for class="inner", starts in the banner include -->

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