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Debian GNU is Not Unix Operating Systems

FSF-Sponsored gNewSense 2.1 Released 413

Posted by timothy
from the when-you-want-to-say-gnu-slash-linux dept.
An anonymous reader writes "gNewSense, the fully-free GNU/Linux distribution sponsored by the FSF, has released a 2.1 live CD (torrent). Since the last release, more non-free binary blobs have been removed, new artwork has been added and lots of other improvements have been made. It's also two years since the first edition of gNewSense, and in that time an impressive ten live CDs have been released! gNewSense 2.1 DeltaH is based on Ubuntu Hardy, and removes non-free software that other distributions don't." I wonder if gNewSense can be easily installed on an OLPC XO the way several other distros can.
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FSF-Sponsored gNewSense 2.1 Released

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2008 @07:30PM (#24730811)

    You're missing the point in having a free (as in freedom) operating system. This is not about "getting hardware support at any costs" but "having a free os". Of course some hardware won't work with GNewSense. But this way, the distro supports hardware manufacturers who release their drivers under a free license (because their user don't have any problems!).

    It is a question of what is more important to you: 100% hardware support or freedom.

    (emphasis mine)

    With regard to computing, what's the point of being philosophically "free" if your hardware isn't supported by the software? Freedom itself can been seen from another light. If your hardware works completely, you have the freedom to be as productive as possible on that machine.

  • questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @07:42PM (#24730905) Homepage

    If this is something that some people want, then that's great, more power to them. But I'm left with a lot of misgivings:

    1. If I was really serious about running a system with no binary blobs, I think I'd probably run OpenBSD. The level of hassles you encounter with an OS basically depends on how big its audience is and how many resources it has available. When it comes to something that's even more obscure than OpenBSD, I'm chicken. And I'm not clear on what advantages GNewSense would have over OpenBSD.
    2. If you have hardware whose only linux support is via binary blobs, then you can't use GNewSense, because your hardware won't work. If you have hardware that has linux support via OSS drivers, then you don't need GNewSense, you can just install ubuntu and select OSS drivers rather than any binary drivers that are also available.
    3. All other things being equal, I'd love to buy only hardware that's got good OSS support, and run only OSS drivers. Unfortunately, doing that is much, much harder than it should be. For example, I bought my kids $200 Linux boxes to put in their rooms, and we don't want to drill holes and run cables, so we're using wifi for those machines. The wifi cards I bought had Rt61 and Rt2500 chipsets. The FSF [fsf.org] says that the Rt2500 has support from open-source drivers, whereas the Rt61 doesn't. But actually, the OSS drivers for the Rt2500 don't really work in my experience. That is, if you install the Linksys binary-blob drivers via ndiswrapper, and you start Gnome, you get a little logo that shows you you've automatically established an internet connection, it shows you the power level, everything works. If you install the OSS driver, then apparently none of that works. No, my kids are not going to open a terminal window every time they want internet access and type cryptic commands. If you search on ubuntuforums.org, you'll find dozens of threads about getting Rt2500 wifi to work using ndiswrapper, with lots of discussion of the various pitfalls, etc. Why would people be putting that amount of effort into installing the binary blobs if the OSS support actually worked well, as the FSF claims?
    4. Their faq [gnewsense.org] sort of makes it sound like other distros are toilet seats in public restrooms; they have lots of invisible germs that you'll get on you, and you won't know it. Realistically, I think Ubuntu and Debian make it reasonably clear when you're installing closed-source software. The faq mentions GLX as an example where you can inadvertently installed non-OSS software on Debian or Ubuntu. Rather than installing a very obscure distro, wouldn't it be easier just to install something like Ubuntu, do the research to find out that GLX isn't free (by someone's definition of free, which may or may not agree with yours), and then make a choice not to install it?
  • by kestasjk (933987) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @07:44PM (#24730939) Homepage
    And if it's supposed to be pronounced the same way GNU is it's pronounced "Guh-new-sense" which sounds like "Guh-nuisance"

    I know it's unfair to expect FOSS programmers to be marketing experts, but it really shouldn't take any imagination to see what a terrible name this is, and how much names matter.
  • by garett_spencley (193892) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @07:47PM (#24730957) Journal

    I'm not involved with the project so I can't speak for them and give you an authoritative answer ... but knowing that every single piece of software in the distro is GPL (or OSI approved or whatever ... I'm not familiar with the specifics of the project) is beneficial when chosing a framework to build upon.

    One example: a hardware manufacturer that wants to sell a machine pre-installed with Linux. With certain distros there may be proprietary software that you don't have the right to redistribute. With GNewSense you have 100% peace of mind and no hassle dealing with licenses etc.

  • by Zigurd (3528) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @07:51PM (#24730981) Homepage

    One very serious point to being "free" is that, if you are serious about security, you want as much of your software to be available for security audit as possible.

    Another serious point to being "free" is reliability. Linux is reliable because it is open. Dilute the openness, and the reliability gets watered down, too.

  • Re:good start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by coryking (104614) * on Sunday August 24, 2008 @07:54PM (#24731001) Homepage Journal

    The poster you replied to was obviously being funny. But if you view the GNU movement (especially in it's modern day activist form) through not through the lens of "technology" but the lens of "religion", it makes perfect sense. You can't have religion unless you have a way of knowing who the true believers are. It is harder to "belive" in a relgion unless you have to do some work to prove the faith to yourself. In catholisism, you prove your faith by abstaining from sex (unless for procreation). In GNU religion, you abstain from using non-free software. By abstaining, or even just giving it lip service (catholics have sex and use birth control, GNU followers probably have Flash installed), you are telling yourself "myself, I'm trying my hardest to show my faith to $SAVIOUR.

    In other words, you gotta word for your faith.

    What you just described is the complete opposite

    Jesus was all about promoting kindness, tolerance and compassion*

    * unless you are a Jew, a Muslim, a atheist, Gay, a gamer playing GTA, die your hair, or vote democrat.

  • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Sunday August 24, 2008 @07:58PM (#24731023)

    The point of GNewSense is to find places where Free Software isn't adequate to have a fully functioning system without binary blobs. If you're a business user [other than a hardware integrator, in which case your tech team might be using it to test your hardware's compatibility in a purely non-proprietary context], a non-FSF-fanatic home user, or otherwise someone in any way marketing-sensitive, you probably don't want to be running a distribution optimized for idiological purity over compatibility and convenience; as such, it's not meant for you. (Business users care about redistributability, of course, but a great many of the relevant binary blobs have that property anyhow. An embedded distribution built for license purity would be interesting to a great many people... but a good number of those users are liable to be skittish about the GPL as well, making their goals and the FSF's align considerably differently -- and Linux-centric embedded-system build toolkits generally already have license-management functionality anyhow).

    Given that goal and context, why does the marketing matter?

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @08:00PM (#24731037)
    it's ironic that the ideaology behind removing binary drivers is an attack on peoples freedoms - the freedom to develop and release software and hardware under the license that suits you. it's always seemed to me that RMS isn't about freedom, just his own twisted version of it.
  • by jaiyen (821972) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @08:12PM (#24731119)

    Given that goal and context, why does the marketing matter?

    Why not ? Whatever the goals, it's only going to be helped by sensible and clever marketing (e.g. Firefox). It's not hard to see that names like GNewSense/nuisance or GIMP could make people feel embarassed about recommending the product to their boss regardless of its other virtues, and that can't be helping their cause at all.

  • Re:I use Gnewsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @08:14PM (#24731127)
    Why don't you use Ubuntu? And I'm not trying to troll, but why would the average person use GNewSense as a normal desktop rather than using Ubuntu which seems to have more of everything (more repos, more drivers, etc)
  • by SD-Arcadia (1146999) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @08:30PM (#24731217) Homepage
    Your caricaturized analogies apply to all organized social movements. You may attempt to devalue any pursuit of social objective as "religious", as religions are also organized social movements in pursuit of an objective. Here: - Neoliberal capitalism is a form of church. - State protection of industries are the original sin. - Milton Friedman is the prophet who will save us from our sins. - The Bretton-Woods institutions are the equivalent of missonaries spreading the gospel of neoliberalism to "3rd world countries. - Karl Marx is the devil. And this demonstrates, what?
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @08:37PM (#24731275) Journal

    GNU isn't a religion, it's a political-economic ideology reminiscent of anarcho-communism.

    Marketing, being a politically correct word for propaganda, which is in its essence about domination of the individual through psychology, well, it's antithetical to the values of an anarcho-communist.

    For these people, being able to achieve success without resorting to marketing and economic trickery is a validation of the viability of their world-view.

    Do you refer to imperial-capitalist-pig-dog as a religion too?

  • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @08:40PM (#24731297)

    Can I buy any old machine from Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. that works with Ubuntu, and expect it to work fully (graphics, sound, wireless, etc.) with GNewSense?

    If so, it would be a philosophically refreshing way of computing. Otherwise, pile it on the list of OS cruft that doesn't work.

    And if the whole free part of FOSS is of ultimate importance to you, you will be carefully selecting individual components based on the availability of 100% open drivers, so an of the shelf machine would not be the one you want.

    Personally, I have no use for this kind of distro either, but I'm not a "free or nothing" Linux user. I use the Nvidia drivers, I use the Gstreamer codec packs, I listen to MP3s and watch and create DVDs. I even play commercial games.. Shocking I know, but I'm still a Linux user. So I'm not the target group. Nor is the run if the mill Linux user. It is a special purpose distro. And as such, it fulfils its criteria.

    To put it in non software terms.. If you need to do something on a flat surface, so you put it on a table or do you pay for a very expensive cast iron machined "mechanically flat" reference surface? This is the equivalent of an engineering reference measurement for Linux, not an everyday distro. Which is most likely why the FSF are sponsoring it.

  • by coaxial (28297) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @08:54PM (#24731421) Homepage

    You're missing the point in having a free (as in freedom) operating system. This is not about "getting hardware support at any costs" but "having a free os". Of course some hardware won't work with GNewSense. But this way, the distro supports hardware manufacturers who release their drivers under a free license (because their user don't have any problems!).

    I call delusional bullshit, and here's why.

    You say that GNewSense (which is an apt, name if there ever has been for an FSF project) "supports hardware manufactures." No it doesn't. It doesn't actually "support" anything. It doesn't encourage manufacturers to release anything, because there's no incentive to do so. There's no financial incentive, and there's no user base incentive.

    Let's say there's some piece of hardware that there's a significant demand for a Linux driver. The manufacturer writes a driver for Linux. It works. But now some less than 1% comes around demanding that driver be released, but one already has been. Now the problem with the driver isn't that it doesn't exist, or doesn't work. It's that some vocal minority simply refuses to use it. That's a personal problem of their own manufacturing. They've made the affirmative choice to live in a world of suck, and no one is under any obligation to help them.

    Also, let's not call GPL software "free." It's legally encumbered, just like everything else. If you want something to be truly free, then public domain it.

    You can release code under whatever license you want. That's fine. I don't have a problem with the GPL per se. I have a problem with people getting all self-righteous and pulling a New Speak (or would that be "GNU-Speak"?) and abusing the word "free". It doesn't mean that, and it never did. (And don't even begin to pull that bullshit that there's no word in the English language that means "libre". There is. It's "liberated".)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2008 @09:03PM (#24731495)

    being a politically correct word for propaganda

    And what is newspeak like "Free as in Freedom" besides propaganda and the delibrate distortion of english? What is GPLv3 but a twisted form of self-inflicting DRM wrapped in nice sounding words like "Freedom"?

    I see propaganda cranked out by the Disciples of GNU that would make George Orwell roll over in his grave.

  • by saibot834 (1061528) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @09:10PM (#24731541) Homepage

    This is not about religion, this is about ethics.

  • by rpp3po (641313) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @09:13PM (#24731563)

    One very serious point to being "free" is that, if you are serious about security, you want as much of your software to be available for security audit as possible

    You mean like the Debian OpenSSL patches, the community audited wide open security hole for mor than 1 1/2 years?

    Communities where maintainers know each other by nothing else than email can easily be infiltrated by "hostile" talent. They offer high quality contributions, seem to spend very much time discussion patches with much professionalism and politeness. In the end it might be just the made up personality Jon Doe of some organization X waiting to place just this one unsuspicious line within the code.

    When using commercial code, organization X needs much more than a diligent virtual personality but direct access to the corporate infrastructure.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @09:29PM (#24731683) Homepage

    Okay, help me out here. Canonical will sell people a copy of Opera if they want it. That means Ubuntu is bad. So we don't want to have anything to do with Ubuntu. So we want to install gNewStep, which is pure and virtuous ... and is based on Ubuntu Hardy Heron...?

    Or:

    If I install Ubuntu Hardy Heron and make my own decision to leave Flash and Lame and off of my system, then I'm making a choice that's morally inferior to installing gNewStep, which is a version of Ubuntu Hardy Heron where somebody else has made the decision to leave Flash and Lame off of the CDs and repositories...? Is it sort of like being an ultraorthodox Jew and hiring somebody else to turn off the light switches on the Sabbath, so you don't have to touch them yourself?

  • by Repossessed (1117929) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @10:10PM (#24731907)

    It's not the name that'd make me embarrassed to recommend GIMP.

  • Re:questions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @10:21PM (#24731977) Homepage

    Someone made a satirical comment elsewhere to this effect, but what good is free software if it mostly only supports Linux? I think using something like OpenBSD (is FreeBSD more open or is OpenBSD more free?) with only software that compiles natively on BSD is a true test of one's open and free nature.

    I used to run FreeBSD on both my desktop and my server. (These days I'm running Ubuntu on my desktop, and Debian on the server.) My experience was that the vast majority of the apps you wanted were no problem at all -- just compile the port or install the binary package, no sweat. In the cases where there were problems, it was almost never a problem because the author of the ap used linuxisms; it more typically something like, e.g., I would upgrade library foo to a new version in order to satisfy make application bar work, but that would unexpectedly break application baz. In other words, it was a problem with the way the packaging had been done for BSD.

    But I think I agree with the thrust of what you're saying. Different people have different ideas about what "free" means.

  • by zsau (266209) <slashdot@[ ]cart ... t ['the' in gap]> on Sunday August 24, 2008 @10:37PM (#24732069) Homepage Journal

    I call delusional bullshit, and here's why.

    There's a massive difference between "bullshit" and "being wrong" that I wish Slashdotters would learn. You probably believe the the PP to be wrong, so say that instead of insulting them. Even if you think they're deliberately spreading information they don't believe to be true, the normal rules of society say you don't just insult someone simply because they're wrong.

    It doesn't mean that, and it never did. (And don't even begin to pull that bullshit that there's no word in the English language that means "libre". There is. It's "liberated".)

    Not remotely true. Free software is exactly the same as a "free society". In a free society, you're not free to do whatever you want: for instance, you can't take someone's freedom away from them. (You two can engage in a contract to agree to do something, but the other party is still free to terminate or breech the contract. They may have to pay some consequences, but it doesn't diminish their freedom.) Or "free time"; you aren't obliged to do something in particular doing that time, but you aren't allowed to do anything. For instance, during free time at school you aren't allowed to leave the grounds; at work you aren't allowed to spend ten minutes undoing your last week's work.

    And "liberated" means something different from "libre". Something has only been liberated if it previously lacked freedom, and now has it; I am free, but I've never been liberated.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @10:40PM (#24732095) Homepage

    Presumably to the manufacturers of hardware which contains binary-only drivers. The idea is that it's a deliberately stress-testing distribution designed to be 100% Free and to cause any hardware which isn't Free to fail. If nobody complains that broken stuff is broken, it won't get fixed.

    In practice, I'm having a really hard time believing that this is going to work. Customer: "I'm calling to complain that your driver doesn't work on my computer, because it isn't open source." Tech support guy: "What version of Windows are you running?" Customer: "I'm not running Windows, I'm running gNewSense." Tech support guy: "I'm sorry, we don't support gNewSense." Customer: "It's a version of Linux. Your web site says you support Linux." Tech: "Oh, Linux, cool. Yeah, we support Linux. I run Ubuntu at home myself. Yeah, it took a long time, but the higher-ups finally decided to support Linux. I can get you going, no sweat. Actually I'm surprised you had a problem at all. Our driver is in the mainline kernel and everything." Customer: "Ha, I know about your filthy driver. It has seventy-five bytes of hexadecimal in the source code that gets loaded into registers, and nobody knows what those 75 bytes do! It's unclean -- evil and unclean, I tell you! That's why I run gNewSense, which is purified of your nasty driver and with its insufficient level of freedom! Now please connect me with your CEO so I can show him the error of his ways!"

    Might be a lot more effective to apply economic pressure by spreading the word about which hardware to buy that has good OSS driver support, rather than installing an entire distro designed to break your computer on the theory that breaking your own computer will make the manufacturer suffer.

  • by schon (31600) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:41PM (#24732519)

    Communities where maintainers know each other by nothing else than email can easily be infiltrated by "hostile" talent.

    What, precisely, does this have to do with the Debian OpenSSH fiasco?

    The Debian fubar was caused because the person responsible for packaging OpenSSH didn't have a clue about security, not because he was "hostile".

    If you want a real example of "hostile" code, one need only look at the Interbase backdoor, where a backdoor was included in every version shipped for 7 years. (Oh, whoops - that was commercial software, not open source, so it kinda defeats your argument, doens't it?)

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms@infamo[ ]net ['us.' in gap]> on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:57PM (#24732623) Homepage

    With regard to computing, what's the point of being philosophically "free" if your hardware isn't supported by the software?

    Wrong way around. What's the point of buying hardware that isn't supported by free software?

    If your hardware works completely, you have the freedom to be as productive as possible on that machine.

    Hardware with proprietary specs and that relies on proprietary drivers, does not "work completely".

  • by PipsqueakOnAP133 (761720) on Monday August 25, 2008 @12:20AM (#24732769)

    "free as in freedom" is a distortion because it is still ambiguous what perspective the freedom comes from.

    My baseline interpretation of freedom with regards to open source development is that BSD/MIT is vastly more "free" than GNU. And understanding this, I recognize that you may think the opposite.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday August 25, 2008 @12:22AM (#24732775)

    Let's say there's some piece of hardware that there's a significant demand for a Linux driver. The manufacturer writes a driver for Linux. It works. But now some less than 1% comes around demanding that driver be released, but one already has been. Now the problem with the driver isn't that it doesn't exist, or doesn't work. It's that some vocal minority simply refuses to use it. That's a personal problem of their own manufacturing.

    Which perfectly explains why ATI has opened up their internal documentation and started helping out the people working on completely Free drivers. Oh wait...

    Also, let's not call GPL software "free." It's legally encumbered, just like everything else. If you want something to be truly free, then public domain it.

    You ought to know better -- the term "free" has many meanings, only some of which apply to the public domain. The FSF has never made a secret of the specific meanings that they mean when they use the term "Free." I believe there is a phrase, you've probably heard it, about beer...

  • by Paradigm_Complex (968558) on Monday August 25, 2008 @12:39AM (#24732881)
    One step at a time.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday August 25, 2008 @12:39AM (#24732883)
    There isn't any debate that i have the freedom to do so. the point is that FSF/RMS would love nothing better than to take that away from me, as demonstrated by many of their statements and the release of this rediculous distro, and they do it all under the guise of freedom.

    having everything in the world GPL'd IS NOT FREEDOM.

  • by tknd (979052) on Monday August 25, 2008 @01:57AM (#24733287)

    Marketing, being a politically correct word for propaganda

    Until you provide a source I will take that as your opinion. Here is what I have seen as a definition of marketing:

    "Marketing is the performance of activities that seek to accomplish an organization's objectives by anticipating customer or client needs and directing a flow of need-satisfying goods and services from producer to customer or client." (Essentials of Marketing 11th edition Perreault, Cannon, McCarthy)

    So sure, you could use propaganda to achieve marketing but that is really a short-sited view of marketing in general.

    For these people, being able to achieve success without resorting to marketing and economic trickery is a validation of the viability of their world-view.

    How? Why? Why does marketing automatically equate to "economic trickery" in your opinion? And why does this imply that their "world-view" is viable?

    In other words, let's suppose I build a product or provide a service, and I decide to have zero marketing. None, zip, nothing at all. The product or service has a name, but the name implies nothing of the product's nature. How successful would such a product be? Keep in mind that things like websites, showing the product to others, and simple things like that are forms of marketing. But what I have here is essentially a product in a vault and the only person that knows of the product's existence is myself. Such products do exist but do you honestly expect people to understand that it exists without any form of marketing?

    Hell, let's get real. I had such a product, it was a customized user interface for a video game which I thought to be superior in some ways to other interfaces available. Initially I had no intention of releasing the interface or allowing others to use the customized interface. That meant zero marketing for my product and I was the only user. The entire population would not know that I was using the interface and therefore nobody except myself used the product.

    Eventually I did "marketing" even though I wasn't aware that it was "marketing". My friends saw my using the interface and eventually wanted to use it as well. Later I posted a video intending to focus on my game-play (not the interface) and people watching the video wanted copies of the interface. Eventually I created a website for the interface (easier to distribute) and before I knew it, a significantly large portion of the players were download and using my interface while I slept. Each of these marketing elements contributed to expand the reach and use of the product. And I'll bet you that most of those people were thankful that they had access to it than to never have had access.

    Sure, I never ran an ad, or tried to put out a video convincing people that my interface was superior or that they needed it. I simply did the bare minimum in marketing gestures on "promotion" and "place" (made the interface available, and it was free) and let the product sell itself. But that is still marketing.

    I will give you that some forms of marketing such as advertising are not necessarily the greatest or most appreciated and are in fact annoying. But at some point, I am sure you have come across a product that you actually liked or wanted/needed and if it hadn't been for some type of marketing then you would have never known that that product or service existed.

    In fact some of these products or services may not even have been from a for-profit mega corporation, but instead from a non-profit organization like a school. All organizations that want to serve a target audience will participate in some form of marketing if they want to be successful.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:26AM (#24734647) Homepage Journal

    ``Only the FSF would remove functionality and consider that to be a feature rather than a bug...''

    Actually, no. Less functionality means (ceteris paribus) less complexity. Less complexity has a very beneficial effect on various aspects; for example, security and learning curve.

    I am happy when I can get systems with less functionality. Provided, of course, that they can still do what I need them to do. As Albert Einstein put it: make it as simple as possible, but not any simpler.

  • by BruceCage (882117) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:30AM (#24734669)

    the point is that FSF/RMS would love nothing better than to take that away from me, as demonstrated by many of their statements

    What statements would that be?

  • by Raenex (947668) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:34AM (#24735395)

    The recipient has 1 and 3 (study and improve), even if they don't have the source. Sure, it's not as easy, but their freedom exists.

    It's quite ridiculous to claim that someone's freedom is being denied by not giving them additional material. According to RMS's definition of freedom, I was under no obligation to give them the software in the first place, so by that logic not giving anything denies no freedom, but giving the software without the source denies freedom. Absurd.

    Imagine I gave you a printed book for free, but not the source. Am I denying your freedoms?

    Imagine a world without copyrights. Natural freedoms would exist -- use, copy, and modify all you want. The GPL clause of requiring source would have no legal basis. Any law created to enforce the GPL would only serve to deny freedom. This would be akin to consumer protection laws, some of which I approve of, some I don't, but don't call it freedom. That's just spin.

  • by aldousd666 (640240) on Monday August 25, 2008 @11:27AM (#24737473) Journal
    "freedom 3" is actually a burden, or a bond, not a freedom. I don't think there is a problem with writing that into the license, as long as folks agree to it before proceeding to use software under it. It's just not aptly named a "freedom."
  • by Raenex (947668) on Monday August 25, 2008 @12:05PM (#24738051)

    You are correct, of course, that in the context of the FSF or GPL, "Free software" acquires a different meaning, but that's only within that context.

    The ugly truth though is that it still falls under the umbrella of newspeak (which somebody else in the comments for this story called GNU-speak, which I find entirely appropriate):

    newspeak [reference.com]: an official or semiofficial style of writing or saying one thing in the guise of its opposite, esp. in order to serve a political or ideological cause while pretending to be objective, as in referring to "increased taxation" as "revenue enhancement."

    Requiring a person to give source is the very opposite of freedom. What Stallman is arguing for is a consumer protection obligation. Good or bad, it isn't freedom, and to label it as such is politics as usual.

    I'm not a GPL hater, per se. What I do hate is the use of dishonest tactics. It's even worse when it's done by somebody as principled as Stallman, who if he saw these kinds of dirty tactics used by others would be the first to point them out. This is the guy who complains about Linux not being called GNU/Linux, and he completely perverts the definition of freedom to suit his ideology.

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