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Old 04-14-2008, 04:49 PM
"peter kvillegard"
 
Default the present and the future

hi there,

i was recently reading some posts on various fora and came across this on the gnewsense forum:
*"AFAIK Gobuntu developers are not so carefull about freedom in their repositories and packages.
I don't think that this attitude will change with the new Ubuntu release and this is why we don't recommend Gobuntu."
*(http://wiki.gnewsense.org/ForumMain/NewGNewSense)


first of all, i am not trying to start a flame war. rather i'm trying to understand the different approaches that the two distros have in defining and keeping to free software.
so i guess my question is: what is the plan? will gobuntu be 'the more free ubuntu' or 'free as in making rms clap his hands in approval and cry a tear of joy'?


also, i might be wrong, but sometimes i get the feeling that gobuntu at this point is being more of a tool for things like sorting out non-free packages in the main repository, than being meant for the average person who want to use a completely free OS?


well, i hope this didn't sound too negative, i'm just interested in hearing other peoples views on this matter.

/peter



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Old 04-14-2008, 09:36 PM
Toni Ruottu
 
Default the present and the future

> i was recently reading some posts on various fora and came across this
> on the gnewsense forum:
> "AFAIK Gobuntu developers are not so carefull about freedom in their
> repositories and packages. I don't think that this attitude will
> change with the new Ubuntu release and this is why we don't recommend
> Gobuntu."
> (http://wiki.gnewsense.org/ForumMain/NewGNewSense)
>
> first of all, i am not trying to start a flame war. rather i'm trying
> to understand the different approaches that the two distros have in
> defining and keeping to free software.

The most important difference is that GNewSense guarantees your freedom
_today_. They go as far as modifying original source packages (say
Linux) to not include non-free stuff. So you can "safely" download the
source code with "apt-get source". GNewSense is released more seldom
than Gobuntu because the team has to clean the non-free stuff out and
that is hard work.

Gobuntu is the base for Ubuntu and Ubuntu is the base for Gobuntu.
They share same repositories. This means that Gobuntu repositories
contain, say Firefox. Because it is seen by Ubuntu to be Free
software. It also means that you really get the original source
package with "apt-get source". Free or not. Gobuntu is released
along Ubuntu releases.

The point of Gobuntu is to drive free-software in Ubuntu, but this is
a slow process. Gobuntu people might e.g. try to talk with kernel.org
people in order to get the non-free parts out of Linux source release.
It is easy to see that this is slower than simply modifying each tar
archive when kernel.org releases them.

Gobuntu will never be blessed by RMS because it is a sister product of
Ubuntu and there is a risk people might confuse them with each other
and fall into using non-free stuff. That might change, if Ubuntu
went completely free software, but I don't see that happening as one of
the core principles of Ubuntu is to keep free and non-free parts clearly
separate instead of simply throwing the non-free stuff into a waste
basket.

Short recap. GNewSense will guarantee your freedom today. Gobuntu will
(in the long run) hopefully clear out status of free-software in Ubuntu.

--Toni



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Old 04-14-2008, 11:27 PM
Kurt von Finck
 
Default the present and the future

Toni Ruottu wrote:
>> i was recently reading some posts on various fora and came across this
>> on the gnewsense forum:
>> "AFAIK Gobuntu developers are not so carefull about freedom in their
>> repositories and packages. I don't think that this attitude will
>> change with the new Ubuntu release and this is why we don't recommend
>> Gobuntu."
>> (http://wiki.gnewsense.org/ForumMain/NewGNewSense)
>>
>> first of all, i am not trying to start a flame war. rather i'm trying
>> to understand the different approaches that the two distros have in
>> defining and keeping to free software.
>
> The most important difference is that GNewSense guarantees your freedom
> _today_. They go as far as modifying original source packages (say
> Linux) to not include non-free stuff. So you can "safely" download the
> source code with "apt-get source". GNewSense is released more seldom
> than Gobuntu because the team has to clean the non-free stuff out and
> that is hard work.
>
> Gobuntu is the base for Ubuntu and Ubuntu is the base for Gobuntu.
> They share same repositories. This means that Gobuntu repositories
> contain, say Firefox. Because it is seen by Ubuntu to be Free
> software. It also means that you really get the original source
> package with "apt-get source". Free or not. Gobuntu is released
> along Ubuntu releases.
>
> The point of Gobuntu is to drive free-software in Ubuntu, but this is
> a slow process. Gobuntu people might e.g. try to talk with kernel.org
> people in order to get the non-free parts out of Linux source release.
> It is easy to see that this is slower than simply modifying each tar
> archive when kernel.org releases them.
>
> Gobuntu will never be blessed by RMS because it is a sister product of
> Ubuntu and there is a risk people might confuse them with each other
> and fall into using non-free stuff. That might change, if Ubuntu
> went completely free software, but I don't see that happening as one of
> the core principles of Ubuntu is to keep free and non-free parts clearly
> separate instead of simply throwing the non-free stuff into a waste
> basket.
>
> Short recap. GNewSense will guarantee your freedom today. Gobuntu will
> (in the long run) hopefully clear out status of free-software in Ubuntu.


RMS will not recommend Gobuntu not because it derives from Ubuntu, but
because Gobuntu makes it trivially easy (perhaps to the point of
"suggestion") for users to install non-free software. Adding the
"multiverse" repository is simple in Gobuntu, and users can easily use
that repo to install non-free packages.

Also, Gobuntu is developed and maintained using Launchpad, which is not
free software. Although I cannot speak for RMS, I suspect he would
object to this point, as well. As always, if you want Richard's opinion,
please ask him.

RMS does not personally recommend OSes that make it easy to install
non-free software. The OpenBSD community recently hashed this out when
RMS refused to recommend OpenBSD due to non-free software being in the
ports tree.

However, free software is not confined to what RMS recommends and will
use himself. He himself will be the first to label OpenBSD or Gobuntu as
free software, he will just not *personally recommend their use*.

His salient quote on the issue, IMO, was, "if a collection of software
contains (or suggests installation of) some non-free program, I do not
recommend it."

Now, what constitutes "suggestion" is up to RMS to decide. It's also up
to each user to decide for themselves. Then weigh the benefits vs the
perils.

In short, Gobuntu is 100% free software. The CD image provided to you
contains nothing but free code. But with Gobuntu you are free to add (or
subtract) what you see fit, and the Ubuntu repositories make it
trivially easy to do so. Thus, while Gobuntu is free software as defined
by the FSF, RMS will not recommend it personally.

Now, all that having been said, please be aware that Paul O'Malley from
the gNewsense project and myself have plans to discuss these very issues
at the Ubuntu Developer's Summit in May. Questions vis-a-vis Gobuntu and
gNewsense are arising frequently, and need to be answered definitively
so we can all get back to work and stop playing politics.

Before anyone takes my remarks here as some sort of "official" statement
(which they most assuredly are not) I would ask that you refrain, and
instead wait for the fruits of the UDS conversations between Mark, Paul,
FSF staff, and yours truly.

We'll get the discussion times on the UDS agenda, and everyone is
welcome to participate when the time comes.

Flame on.

--
./k

Kurt von Finck

Senior Ubuntu System Support Analyst
Canonical, Ltd.

public key: keyserver.ubuntu.com
key id: 5229D26A
fingerprint: 127A A484 ADBF A5AD E7FB 8CD2 8913 18F4 5229 D26A


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Old 04-15-2008, 12:09 AM
Karl Goetz
 
Default the present and the future

On Tue, 2008-04-15 at 00:36 +0300, Toni Ruottu wrote:
> > i was recently reading some posts on various fora and came across this
> > on the gnewsense forum:

Is this purely in responce to the forum? i dont see an email with this
topic before this.

> > "AFAIK Gobuntu developers are not so carefull about freedom in their
> > repositories and packages. I don't think that this attitude will
> > change with the new Ubuntu release and this is why we don't recommend
> > Gobuntu."
> > (http://wiki.gnewsense.org/ForumMain/NewGNewSense)
> >
> > first of all, i am not trying to start a flame war. rather i'm trying
> > to understand the different approaches that the two distros have in
> > defining and keeping to free software.
>
> The most important difference is that GNewSense guarantees your freedom
> _today_. They go as far as modifying original source packages (say
> Linux) to not include non-free stuff. So you can "safely" download the
> source code with "apt-get source". GNewSense is released more seldom
> than Gobuntu because the team has to clean the non-free stuff out and
> that is hard work.

Several things:
- The gobuntu team should be doing the same work for cleaning the kernel
(ideally making use of the work done by gNewSense).
- gNewSense is primarily LTS based because of the small developer base.

>
> Gobuntu is the base for Ubuntu and Ubuntu is the base for Gobuntu.

Not entirely sure what this means in this context. Could you expand?

> They share same repositories. This means that Gobuntu repositories
> contain, say Firefox. Because it is seen by Ubuntu to be Free

Gobuntus stated goal isnt to contain software seen "by Ubuntu to be Free
software", its to contain software seen by the FSF as free.

> software. It also means that you really get the original source
> package with "apt-get source". Free or not. Gobuntu is released
> along Ubuntu releases.

not sure what you mean about the original source package either - was it
in reference to Gobuntu or gNewSense?

>
> The point of Gobuntu is to drive free-software in Ubuntu, but this is
> a slow process. Gobuntu people might e.g. try to talk with kernel.org
> people in order to get the non-free parts out of Linux source release.

it may be accelarated by working with gNewSense's KVF team.

> It is easy to see that this is slower than simply modifying each tar
> archive when kernel.org releases them.

Upstream (the Linux project) have shown no intrest in removing blobs
from Linux. The attitude (last i heard) was 'when all the distros remove
blobs, so will we' (my paraphrasing, so potentially wrong).

>
> Gobuntu will never be blessed by RMS because it is a sister product of
> Ubuntu and there is a risk people might confuse them with each other
> and fall into using non-free stuff. That might change, if Ubuntu

By having restricted and multiverse enabled by default it /is/
encouraging users to install non-free software.
Gobuntu also suffers from its ties to ubuntu - bugs that should be fixed
to fix freedom in Gobuntu arn't because it would require major changes
to the rest of the family (eg the bug affecting xorg).

> went completely free software, but I don't see that happening as one of
> the core principles of Ubuntu is to keep free and non-free parts clearly
> separate instead of simply throwing the non-free stuff into a waste
> basket.

i didnt know keeping non-free software was a core principle - i thought
creating a desktop OS was.

>
> Short recap. GNewSense will guarantee your freedom today. Gobuntu will
> (in the long run) hopefully clear out status of free-software in Ubuntu.

And gNewSense wont ensure your long-term freedom?
kk

>
> --Toni
>

PS. Its gNewSense, not GNewSense
kk

>
>
--
Karl Goetz,
Debian user / Ubuntu contributor / gNewSense contributor
http://www.kgoetz.id.au
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:14 AM
Karl Goetz
 
Default the present and the future

On Mon, 2008-04-14 at 19:27 -0400, Kurt von Finck wrote:
> Toni Ruottu wrote:

>
> Now, all that having been said, please be aware that Paul O'Malley from
> the gNewsense project and myself have plans to discuss these very issues
> at the Ubuntu Developer's Summit in May. Questions vis-a-vis Gobuntu and
> gNewsense are arising frequently, and need to be answered definitively
> so we can all get back to work and stop playing politics.
>

I look forward to hearing about it
I had thought about flying myself over, but, well, havent organised it.

> We'll get the discussion times on the UDS agenda, and everyone is
> welcome to participate when the time comes.



>
> Flame on.

*slops petrol around*
kk

>
> --
> ./k
>
> Kurt von Finck

>
--
Karl Goetz,
Debian user / Ubuntu contributor / gNewSense contributor
http://www.kgoetz.id.au
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:35 AM
Markus Laire
 
Default the present and the future

Kurt von Finck wrote:
> In short, Gobuntu is 100% free software. The CD image provided to you
> contains nothing but free code. But with Gobuntu you are free to add (or
> subtract) what you see fit, and the Ubuntu repositories make it
> trivially easy to do so. Thus, while Gobuntu is free software as defined
> by the FSF, RMS will not recommend it personally.

That might not be true since it's unclear whether Gobuntu-project really
wants to remove non-free or undistributable firmware or not.

--
Markus Laire

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Old 04-15-2008, 10:47 AM
Toni Ruottu
 
Default the present and the future

> Several things:
> - The gobuntu team should be doing the same work for cleaning the kernel
> (ideally making use of the work done by gNewSense).

Yes, but Gobuntu is working together with Ubuntu. What I have been
trying to say is that working together with Ubuntu seems to be more
important for Gobuntu than instant freedom. Instant freedom is a
gNewSense goal. Gobuntu consists about Ubuntu main and universe
components. It is thus a goal of Gobuntu to make sure main and
universe components of Ubuntu contain only free-software.

As a result Gobuntu will become free. How ever they have to take part
in Ubuntu community and drive these things the "correct" way. They may
not go modify original Linux source package from kernel.org only because
it suits the goal of Gobuntu. They will at least have to work with
Ubuntu kernel team. And as I said earlier, it may be preferable to get
these thing right at corresponding upstreams (in this case kernel.org).

> > Gobuntu is the base for Ubuntu and Ubuntu is the base for Gobuntu.
>
> Not entirely sure what this means in this context. Could you expand?

Gobuntu is based on Ubuntu in the sense that Ubuntu existed before
Gobuntu and Gobuntu is now trying to make its own existence possible
by changing the free software components of Ubuntu to suits its needs.

Ubuntu is based on Gobuntu in the sense that it has a free software
core and, if you take out the non-free stuff of Ubuntu you will
essentially get Gobuntu (without the branding). So there is Gobuntu
under the surface of each Ubuntu installation.

> > They share same repositories. This means that Gobuntu repositories
> > contain, say Firefox. Because it is seen by Ubuntu to be Free
>
> Gobuntus stated goal isnt to contain software seen "by Ubuntu to be Free
> software", its to contain software seen by the FSF as free.

But what it really is. Is containing software that is seen by Ubuntu to
be free in the eyes of FSF. For example the following messages (see url
below) states that Firefox will stay. It is unclear whether or not this
is ok with FSF. And it is also unclear whether or not
Canonical/Gobuntu/Ubuntu cares about that.

https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/gobuntu-devel/2007-October/000376.html

The message also shows that while Canonical have been working with
separating free and non-free parts of Linux at packaging time. The
source you will get with "apt-get source" will contain the non-free
parts. This applies also to Gobuntu. All this suggests that to be
something the guys at kernel.org should work out.

It should be clear by now that this is not the case for gNewSense as
this is "the thing" they do. Guarantee users freedom as their primary
goal.

> > software. It also means that you really get the original source
> > package with "apt-get source". Free or not. Gobuntu is released
> > along Ubuntu releases.
>
> not sure what you mean about the original source package either - was it
> in reference to Gobuntu or gNewSense?

The original ones. The ones that come from upstreams, say kernel.org.

> > The point of Gobuntu is to drive free-software in Ubuntu, but this is
> > a slow process. Gobuntu people might e.g. try to talk with kernel.org
> > people in order to get the non-free parts out of Linux source release.
>
> it may be accelarated by working with gNewSense's KVF team.

Lets hope so. Has gNewSense KVF team been active in communicating the
matter to the people at kernel.org?

> > It is easy to see that this is slower than simply modifying each tar
> > archive when kernel.org releases them.
>
> Upstream (the Linux project) have shown no intrest in removing blobs
> from Linux. The attitude (last i heard) was 'when all the distros remove
> blobs, so will we' (my paraphrasing, so potentially wrong).

Maybe they care about volume. Ubuntu has lots of users behind it, so I
suppose they might count it to be more than "just another distro". They
seem to be quite rational even, if they are also quite anti-idealist.

> > Gobuntu will never be blessed by RMS because it is a sister product of
> > Ubuntu and there is a risk people might confuse them with each other
> > and fall into using non-free stuff. That might change, if Ubuntu
>
> By having restricted and multiverse enabled by default it /is/
> encouraging users to install non-free software.

Restricted and Multiverse were never enabled by default in Gobuntu.

> Gobuntu also suffers from its ties to ubuntu - bugs that should be fixed
> to fix freedom in Gobuntu arn't because it would require major changes
> to the rest of the family (eg the bug affecting xorg).

Yep. The bugs are fixed in a way that doesn't break everything else
up. Even, if it takes somewhat longer and makes the free software
idealists feel slight burning, while the proper fixes to the issue at
hand are considered. The work on such issues would be greatly improved,
if there were more people trying to figure out a solution that satisfies
everyone.

> > went completely free software, but I don't see that happening as one of
> > the core principles of Ubuntu is to keep free and non-free parts clearly
> > separate instead of simply throwing the non-free stuff into a waste
> > basket.
>
> i didnt know keeping non-free software was a core principle - i thought
> creating a desktop OS was.

Creating a desktop OS is a goal, not a principle. The way Ubuntu works
is that it separates free and non-free parts and leaves the choice to
the user. To make this choice real the basic installation should be
entirely free software. The default installation of Ubuntu does contain
non-free parts ATM to help people migrate into using more free software.

This is a statistical approach were we count the overall work hours
spent by different people using pieces of free software, not the count
of full converts who have hard time finding hardware they can write
their self compiled Linux BIOS on.


> > Short recap. GNewSense will guarantee your freedom today. Gobuntu will
> > (in the long run) hopefully clear out status of free-software in Ubuntu.
>
> And gNewSense wont ensure your long-term freedom?

Of course it will. It did already. If we assume that the current
installation of gNewSense is completely free software. (not sure, if it
is even possible to verify each byte, but lets assume that anyway)
Then you can always use that version. Thus freedom is guaranteed for
ever. You can also use no software at all, in which case your freedom
is guaranteed also.

These claims were highly theoretical and arbitrary proofs regarding the
case at hand. I have no doubts in believing that gNewSense team will
be able to continue working and produce continually freedom guaranteeing
desktop operating systems, that will be hottest hot thing for a free
software idealist.

The point is that Ubuntu has lots of user and it will probably continue
to have lots of users. Thus the potential long term benefit of improving
or clearing out the status of free software in Ubuntu will affect these
users (maybe not visibly, but still). With this approach it is possible
to make free software benefits sneak up on people without them even
noticing. This holds also in the case where these people would not want
to talk about free software and would feel offended, if you tried to
convert them anyway.

> PS. Its gNewSense, not GNewSense

Thanks for pointing that out. Must have seen it starting a sentence. :-)

--Toni


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