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Old 04-16-2008, 12:08 PM
Stanislas Breton
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

Dave Crossland wrote:
> On 16/04/2008, Pierluca Masala <pierluca.masala@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> People who don't get scared by the possibility that, "just clicking a
>> button", some non-free software could come into their pc and infest it
>> like a virus. Because they know they won't click that button.
>> I don't get scared. Freedom is about choice and responsibility. Users
>> should choose freedom and be responsible.
>> There is no GNU/Linux distribution which prevents the user from
>> installing non-free software. I can run gNewSense on my pc and then
>> install non-free plugins and other non-free software on it manually.
>> Is gNewSense less free because of this?
>> Do people really evaluate the freedom of an OS according to how easy
>> it is to install non-free software on it? Is Gobuntu less free than
>> gNewSense because it is easier to install non-free software on it than
>> it is on gNewSense?
>> This seems to have no sense to me.
>>
>
> Please consider the difference between preventing a user from doing
> something, inviting them to do something, acting as if it is
> acceptable to do it, and doing it for them.
>
> Preventing people is impossible; if you invite someone to do
> something, you imply that it is acceptable and an okay thing to do;
> acting that way implies it too.
>
> GNU/Linux exists because using proprietary software is not acceptable.
> If a distribution contains proprietary software, as binary package or
> as source code, then it will not be recommended by the FSF because
> that would be directly recommending proprietary software.
>
> Gobuntu contains proprietary software in its source code.
>
> Mark Shuttleworth wrote:
>
>
>>> in Ubuntu we just produce multiple binary packages and keep
>>> the problematic ones out of the "main" component.
>>>
>
> That means Ubuntu's package hosting system has a single source code
> package that contains proprietary software, and creates 2 binary
> packages that include or exclude that proprietary software.
>
> I hope that by Gobuntu 8.10 or 9.04, the Ubuntu package hosting system
> will create 3 packages from their mixed free/proprietary sources: 2
> binary packages as now, and a 3rd source package without the
> proprietary software.
>
> Gobuntu can then provide access to only the source and binary packages
> that contain only free software, and gNewSense can just mirror them.
>
> There is something else for distributions to do, other than just
> providing only free software packages in source or binary form.
> Consider the bsdtalk podcast/OpenBSD mailing list discussion involving
> RMS about why he does not recommend OpenBSD.
>
> If a distribution of free software invites users to install
> proprietary software (such as Ubuntu's "Commercial Software" option in
> the "Add/Remove Programs" tool, or Firefox's default "proprietary
> plugin installer" feature) that indirectly recommends proprietary
> software which is also not an okay thing to do.
>
> If a distribution of free software includes references to proprietary
> software, such as in its manual (as many "community edition" GPL
> programs do) or such as OpenBSD's ports recipies for downloading say
> the Opera browser, that also assumes proprietary software is
> acceptable to use.
>
Does the same logic apply to the official builds of gcc and GNU Emacs
for Windows?
> Hopefully future Gobuntu "Add/Remove Programs" tools will not include
> parts of the UI that recommend proprietary software but fail to do
> anything. That Gobuntu's invitation to use proprietary doesn't work
> does not obviate the problem of the invitation.
>
> (That the UI calls proprietary software "commercial software" is not
> good because free software typically has a commercial basis; the UI
> also calls free software "open source" but I expect we know how that
> works to imply giving up software freedom is acceptable)
>
>



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Old 04-16-2008, 12:51 PM
Mark Shuttleworth
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

bvidinli wrote:

As i understand, gobuntu will have only free software..
Then, will Ubuntu have non-free software ? it currenlty has, as i
think/know.. (restriced ones)


We're in no way looking to change the policy of Ubuntu towards non-free
applications. We do have, in the restricted repository, some
proprietary drivers. The gNewSense folks have a different definition of
"free" (as do Debian, who have DFSG which is different to the FSF's
guidelines on some issues).



This thread is not about putting more non-free work into Ubuntu, it's
about helping to promote the purist view effectively, and whether
Gobuntu is the best we can do in that regard, or whether we should try
to collaborate with gNewSense in a different way than via a
middle-ground in Gobuntu.



Mark



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Old 04-16-2008, 01:02 PM
Mark Shuttleworth
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

Dave Crossland wrote:


I hope that by Gobuntu 8.10 or 9.04, the Ubuntu package hosting system
will create 3 packages from their mixed free/proprietary sources: 2
binary packages as now, and a 3rd source package without the
proprietary software.


Most source packages don't actually have non-free pieces, they have
pieces that may be slightly controversial. For example, some code as
text in the Linux kernel, or the Firefox requirement that one rename
the software if one modifies it. We don't see those as issues worth
splitting the source packages over, and different groups take different
views. We are very careful not to put proprietary application code in
userspace in Ubuntu, other people focus on other approaches.



If you take the view that Gobuntu should have a different source
package from Ubuntu whenever an issue like this occurs, you are also
saying that any security patch must happen twice. We know from
experience that this won't happen. It's perfectly reasonable to choose
to work off a completely different source, with no collaboration, but
it does then close other doors or make other benefits more difficult to
achieve.



We don't have the resources in Canonical to maintain two different
packages of the Firefox code. Nobody else has stepped up to do the
work. That's not right or wrong, it's just the raw material we have to
work woth, and we need to decide how to get the best result from that
raw material.



Mark



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Old 04-16-2008, 03:00 PM
Christophe Jarry
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

Hi Chris,

0) Can we define the goal of Gobuntu? It was aimed to be a completely free distro based on each new release of Ubuntu at the begining (see http://blue-gnu.biz/content/what_makes_gobuntu_different_gnewsense).

1) Can we define the goal of gNS? Create a free distro based on LTS releases of Ubuntu and create Builder to help achieve this.

2) Are these goals compatible? Yep

3) If so, is one project stronger than the other? Can't say for sure

4) If the goals of both are similar, can we concentrate on one, at
the (perceived) expense of the other? I don't know

5) Are these Debian based distros based on Debian, or is Ubuntu
completely independent of Debian, but just uses the DEB package
system? I don't know

6) If there is a firm relationship with Debian, would we be
better-off basing the future distro on the Debian release cycle? Pro:
Stability, Con (?): Long release schedule. I think the Ubuntu base is stable enough, moreover it's easier to use and the community is really active at helping (I don't know debian's situation for this last point)

7) Can we post these questions somewhere where people can add comments to them? Yes, but where?

8) Very importantly for me, what does Brian Brazil think of this, as
it was his great idea that got me caught-up in all this?

9) Finally, this is meant to stimulate thought, not to antagonize. I
shall get my flame retardant suit on, in preparation for the
(needless) criticism I will receive for my questions.

I'll add my answer to the Mark's question: I think the Ubuntu team should distribute two versions of the kernel it uses, one removing non-free and binary-only drivers. And the official Universe repository should only contain free software (no binary-only).

I personally think gNewSense is more user-friendly, at least for the possibility to use the live-CD.

Christophe (pitof)


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Old 04-16-2008, 03:39 PM
"Dave Crossland"
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

On 16/04/2008, Mark Shuttleworth <mark@ubuntu.com> wrote:
>
> Most source packages don't actually have non-free pieces, they have pieces
> that may be slightly controversial. For example, some code as text in the
> Linux kernel,

But some packages do.

Software compiled and encoded as hex strings, as in some Linux kernel
modules, are straightforward to indentify as proprietary pieces.

> the Firefox requirement that one rename the software if
> one modifies it.

Gobuntu uses Epiphany as its default browser, and moving the Firefox
package to restricted seems to resolve the problem of making it
unavailable to Gobuntu but available 'out of the box' to Ubuntu.

> We are very careful not to put proprietary application code in
> userspace in Ubuntu, other people focus on other approaches.

I'm unconvinced that the social problem of proprietary software is
different for drivers and applications.

If there are articles from Ubuntu explaining this I'm unaware of,
please let me know :-)

> If you take the view that Gobuntu should have a different source package
> from Ubuntu whenever an issue like this occurs, you are also saying that any
> security patch must happen twice.
>
> We don't have the resources in Canonical to maintain two different packages
> of the Firefox code.

I take the view that Ubuntu should have a single "meta source" package
that generates Ubuntu and Gobuntu source and binary packages in the
small number of packages in main/universe that require this, and that
security patches therefore happen once.

This modifies Gobuntu's goal to be "Deliver a great desktop that
includes only free software packages at source and binary package
level from Ubuntu, and encourages copyleft thinking in areas beyond
code. This gives the platform the same level of security coverage with
very little work."

--
Regards,
Dave

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Old 04-16-2008, 05:54 PM
Mark Shuttleworth
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

Dave Crossland wrote:



the Firefox requirement that one rename the software if
one modifies it.



Gobuntu uses Epiphany as its default browser, and moving the Firefox
package to restricted seems to resolve the problem of making it
unavailable to Gobuntu but available 'out of the box' to Ubuntu.


We don't consider Firefox's perfectly legitimate request not to have
modified versions of the software confused with versions they are
involved with, directly or indirectly, a restriction on freedom.
Freedom is not about the rights to use someone's trademarks, it's about
the right to modify the code, which is untarnished. The FSF has a
similar view, if I recall, in regard to the GFDL. So it would be
inappropriate for us to move Firefox to the "restricted" component,
because it is no more restricted than Epiphany.



Now, I recognise that some folks don't like the Firefox trademark
issue, and I'm supportive of the use of different browsers by different
people anyhow (Konqueror, WebKit...), so I've no problem with Gobuntu's
choices, even as I've no problem with Firefox's.



In addition to that, I deeply dislike the restricted component, and
want to see it get smaller, not bigger. We specifically don't put other
proprietary apps in there, if I remember correctly, we limit that to
things related to hardware enablement, which is what was agreed when
Ubuntu was chartered. We have multiverse and a third-party apps
repository, which are more appropriate for those, but nothing from
those can be on the CD which we ship, because that would be promoting
the apps we specifically don't want to promote.







We are very careful not to put proprietary application code in
userspace in Ubuntu, other people focus on other approaches.



I'm unconvinced that the social problem of proprietary software is
different for drivers and applications.

If there are articles from Ubuntu explaining this I'm unaware of,
please let me know :-)


I respect that opinion, and agree that freedom of hardware drivers is
valuable in itself, and know that our position with the restricted
component comes at some cost in pressure on the vendors concerned. But
I think the greatest pressure we can apply on those vendors will come
from very large volumes of user adoption. Those irritating vendors will
quickly realise, when there is a security issue in the kernel and their
devices stop working and customers complain, that their proprietary
blobs are ineffective in the new world of open source. So building that
passionate audience is what we focus on, and thus far I think we have
made a huge contribution in getting vendors to think more deeply about
Linux. We always move a vendor closer to free software, we have never
helped move a vendor in the opposite direction, and we are getting a
lot of exposure to vendors, so I think we are a force for good.



Other companies have taken a different view, claiming to be more pure,
but I think you will find that all of them will happily work with an
OEM to install proprietary drivers when their platforms are shipped,
and will also make it easy for users to install those drivers
themselves. I find our approach more honest, even as I dislike
restricted in the first place.





If you take the view that Gobuntu should have a different source package
from Ubuntu whenever an issue like this occurs, you are also saying that any
security patch must happen twice.

We don't have the resources in Canonical to maintain two different packages
of the Firefox code.



I take the view that Ubuntu should have a single "meta source" package
that generates Ubuntu and Gobuntu source and binary packages in the
small number of packages in main/universe that require this, and that
security patches therefore happen once.


If you could demonstrate that in action for Firefox, the kernel,
openoffice and some of the others, then we could seriously consider
adopting it.





Mark


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Old 04-16-2008, 08:25 PM
"Joseph Piché"
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

I am no developer, I only help out with Ubuntu on the side of being a
SysAdmin, but I feel like I should say something.

> I'm not sure that the current level of activity in Gobuntu warrants the
> division of attention it creates, either for folks who are dedicated to
> Ubuntu primarily, or to folks who are interested in gNewSense. I would like
> us to have a good relationship with the gNewSense folks, because I do think
> that their values and views are important and I would like Ubuntu to be a
> useful starting point for them. But perhaps Gobuntu isn't the best way to
> achieve that.

Gobuntu is a great idea--a separate branch of popular GNU/Linux
distribution which emphasizes Freedom. As a proponent of Free
Software, I love this. I can take a Gobuntu CD, put it in a server
(with supported hardware) and have no concerns about my ideals being
infringed upon.

However, from my perspective, Gobuntu didn't get a strong backing.
What is probably more worthwhile is instead to make clearer
distinction of what is Free in Ubuntu and what is not Free.

> In addition to that, I deeply dislike the restricted component, and want to
> see it get smaller, not bigger. We specifically don't put other proprietary
> apps in there, if I remember correctly, we limit that to things related to
> hardware enablement, which is what was agreed when Ubuntu was chartered. We
> have multiverse and a third-party apps repository, which are more
> appropriate for those, but nothing from those can be on the CD which we
> ship, because that would be promoting the apps we specifically don't want to
> promote.

I completely agree. So, since the restricted component cannot be on
the CD already, why not reinforce and improve upon the new CD option
to go only Free with a regular Ubuntu Install, and move Gobuntu
efforts to gNewSense. I understand that this has a cost, as a Free
kernel will have to be packaged with the CD along with a few other
packages, thus eliminating CD space. However, providing a clearer
definition of what is Free, and separating what is not Free will help
everybody. This will make it easier for Free-Software-only proponents
to use an OS that stands up to what they believe, and it will help
developers to recognize more clearly what those people believe should
be "fixed."

I am not suggesting creating a 3rd build of binary packages, but
instead going with meta-source packages (if this can be done) or maybe
(this is kidna crazy) creating another component, like universe, and
moving controversial--yet still free--software to it. Or just
filtering known packages out of main and universe and into multiverse.

Whatever is done will be a pain at first but I believe doing something
to help the current situation is important.


Thanks,
Joseph J. Piché
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:43 PM
Toni Ruottu
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

It might well be that we are on the right track. How do we measure that?

I think the supposition that Gobuntu is eating up resources from
gNewSense is false. Many people have been pointing out that Gobuntu
doesn't have lots of resources (say, manpower). So it is not something
that Gobuntu is taking away from gNewSense. It is a goal of gNewSense to
be pure and a goal of Gobuntu to be "cheap" and easy to maintain.

If no resources are spent on Gobuntu, then it is cheap (doesn't cost us
any human resources), yet it still works as a reminder. It is a symbol
people see when they visit Ubuntu web site and then we will have lots of
kids asking about the point of Gobuntu. And that already imho is a win.

It seems to me that FSF will never bless Gobuntu. FSF does not bless
Debian because of the non-free repositories closely associated with it.
And iirc these repositories are not even part of Debian. Ubuntu will
continue to have at least Multiverse even, if we one beautiful day feel
no more need for Restricted. I don't think Gobuntu should compete with
gNewSense about that status. We may let gNewSense be just that.

There are two types of users. Either they care about software freedom or
they don't. The people who care about software freedom may want help
with guarding their system against non-free software. This means that
they want to be sure e.g. that their system upgrades do not secretly
install non-free software on their computer. They will also want to know
whether or not some installable piece of software is free. When they see
a check box that says "enable non-free stuff" they have no problem with
that. They just don't click it.

The same people may not, however want to recommend such a system for
their mom (a person who does supposedly not care about software
freedom). This is where the blessing comes in. So the blessing requires
that the distribution does not tell to its users that is OK to use
non-free software. An advanced user might want to prevent his mom from
using non-free software because he may see this as his ethical
responsibility. Such a person sees the dangers in non-free software so
great, that he thinks it justifies him to take away her mothers freedom
to use arbitrary software of her willing. Whether or not this is wise,
is not something we can argue about. This is a decision every
technically talented people has to make him/herself, and the moms and
other relatives then just have to believe their mentor.

I claim that Gobuntu suits very well the aware users that care about
their freedoms. I know one actual user of Gobuntu and I think he fits
into this category. I'm not this person myself. I did interview him
shortly. He uses Gobuntu instead of gNewSense because Gobuntu was easy
for him to get going and he believes in Ubuntu release cycle. He also
has hopes in Gobuntu getting better over time. He said he is planning to
try gNewSense out too at some point. To me the question is whether or
not Gobuntu has a user base, and not whether or not it has developers.

The problem in numbers of developers seems not to be that the gNewSense
developers do not want to work as part of Gobuntu community. I've heard
that gNewSense is also lacking in man power and they are quite busy
working with their own stuff. The problem with lack of developers is
that it is not clear to those developers what Gobuntu is, so they have
not found it. Gobuntu has lots of sensible tasks that can be carried out
without moving Firefox back and forth between repositories.

Gobuntu tends to attract lots of discussion about what it in fact is.
This is a sign that shows what it is missing. It is missing identity. It
is very hard to describe. It is just "the stripped version of Ubuntu".
There are no identifying Gobuntu graphics on the desktop. Such that
would make it feel a separate project. This is a huge reason why it
seems to be just a stripped version of Ubuntu. There have been some
short lived suggestions about Gobuntu graphics. I suppose no-one really
knew what should be done with them in order to get them into 8.04. There
were some vague comments like "thats nice" or "cool" and then the topic
was forgotten.

No matter how hard you search for it, it is impossible to find proper
definitions about the kind of work that should be taking place as within
the Gobuntu community. If there are no clear tasks, then there will of
course be no-one to work on them. Currently Gobuntu seems to identify as
"a project that needs people to tell them whether or not Firefox is free
software.". If it was clear that there were tasks and work inside
Gobuntu, then this might attract someone to participate.

There would need to be a repository of cool technical ideas regarding
Gobuntu. A seed of tasks that would identify the type of work that was
going to take place within the community. Something that was enough to
cause other ideas start forming and begin competition about the best
implementation about certain ideas. At least their should be a list of
open problems that the project was supposed to solve.

Currently Gobuntu doesn't look like a cool project that is in the works,
but more like a stripped version of Ubuntu. Something that is already
complete. Some then think that it is free enough and others think it is
all wrong, but it really doesn't seem to offer anything to work with for
either party. Anyway it may be useful for those users who see it
suitable for their casual needs. And it may be that they really don't
need anything more, but this being the case we should not talk about
strategies for getting more developers for the project. We should just
retain it as it is "a stripped version of Ubuntu" with cheap maintenance
costs.

While this is sort of a defense speech for Gobuntu, I do support the
idea of co-operation between gNewSense and Ubuntu. Also a group of
people at some Ubuntu conference could spend an hour trying to create a
list of the most cool things that Gobuntu project could ever achieve. I
suppose there is some ultra cool vision of freedom related things that
one would be able to carry out _without_ falling into philosophical
questions about the location of Firefox in space and time. Simple
things, that don't necessarily _guarantee_ freedom immediately, but that
also don't depend on changes in other parts of the system.


--Toni Ruottu





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Old 04-17-2008, 05:56 AM
Matthew Flaschen
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

Joseph Piché wrote:

> I completely agree. So, since the restricted component cannot be on
> the CD already,

The restricted is on the CD. It's multiverse that isn't.

> why not reinforce and improve upon the new CD option to go only
> Free with a regular Ubuntu Install,

I don't know if Canonical is willing to do this, due to the user
confusion factor, if nothing else.

> However, providing a clearer definition of what is Free, and separating
> what is not Free will help everybody.

Separating out what is not free is the whole issue. You're basically
suggesting Ubuntu offer a completely free install on the default CD, but
you're not saying how they would do that.

Matt Flaschen

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Old 04-17-2008, 12:55 PM
Mark Shuttleworth
 
Default Rethinking Gobuntu

Toni Ruottu wrote:

Gobuntu tends to attract lots of discussion about what it in fact is.
This is a sign that shows what it is missing. It is missing identity. It
is very hard to describe. It is just "the stripped version of Ubuntu".
There are no identifying Gobuntu graphics on the desktop. Such that
would make it feel a separate project. This is a huge reason why it
seems to be just a stripped version of Ubuntu. There have been some
short lived suggestions about Gobuntu graphics. I suppose no-one really
knew what should be done with them in order to get them into 8.04.

I agree with your observation, but I think this is a symptom, not a
cause.



The real issue is that there is nobody who identifies strongly enough
with the goals as articulated - "A platform within the Ubuntu family
which emphasises freedom" - to devote their time, care and attention to
making it work. Doing it within Ubuntu is in some senses easier,
because updates are largely free and many packages are "just there".
But in other senses it is harder, because you have to defend those
changes during the development cycle while other people are changing
the things that are important to them.



The gNewSense model, which waits till an LTS release of Ubuntu is done,
*then* makes changes, is much more straightforward. You take a static
snapshot, and then make the changes you want. Unfortunately, the
gNewSense process tends to be described as "fixing Ubuntu", as if there
was something wrong with Ubuntu, when Ubuntu and Debian have done most
of the work to make that approach possible in the first place. It is
also not really possible to have the same release cycle with the
gNewSense model as with the Gobuntu model.



At the moment, it seems that developers find it easier to associate
with the gNewSense approach, than with the Gobuntu approach. It
requires less hard-work-during-the-cycle, and can primarily be
something that gets done in a burst when there is a new LTS. The guys
who have done work on Gobuntu, while they are all passionate free
software advocates, have largely done that work because they were asked
to do it, and graciously found the energy to do so on top of an already
high set of goals per release.



Mark



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