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Old 05-03-2008, 06:22 AM
"Carsten Agger"
 
Default Volunteering

I've been thinking for some time over which place in Ubuntu would be right
for me to contribute, and ended up deciding that Gobuntu is what I
consider most important in the long run: I recommend that people use
Ubuntu, so that they can have free software, but it would be nice to be
able to say that it's possible to run on completely free software.

I've been running Ubuntu till now, but have been biding my time, wanting
to switch to Gobuntu after the Hardy release.

So ... what is there to do? I have no experience with Debian package
management, but I could learn it, I suppose - I'm mainly a C programmer,
so if there's changes to be made at the source code level, I could help
with that.

To which extent is the Gobuntu project a doubling of the efforts of
gNewSense? I like the idea behind both projects, but would like whatever
work I end up doing benefitting Ubuntu as a whole where possible, so I'm
more inclined to help with Gobuntu than with gNewSense.

best regards,

Carsten Agger
Denmark

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Old 05-04-2008, 12:26 AM
Toni Ruottu
 
Default Volunteering

One of the most important tasks from your perspective might be
engineering software which makes it possible for a user to stay in
control. Software that lets you know about non-free stuff you have
installed. A switch that allows you to return to Gobuntu mode after you
have been using non-free software, and use some again, and then return
again.

It is quite common that when someone decides to use only free software,
he soon realizes that he needs one non-free application to do something.
Installing that application does some magic to his system. Enables a
non-free repository or something like that. The user doesn't know what
happened. After this it is very hard for the user to reliably return
into using only free software.

He may also speak to free software advocates about his use of free
software. Then he mentions the single piece of non-free software he is
using. At this point the free software advocate tells him that, if he is
depending on non-free software, it doesn't really matter that he uses
free software for everything else. By these words the free software
advocate is trying to force that user to drop the non-free piece he is
using.

The user how ever was really enthusiastic about free software and even
originally he would not have used that non-free piece, but he felt he
had no choice for some reason. Maybe his workplace required using that
non-free application. But now he have been told that it doesn't matter
whether you use 1 or 100 non-free applications because either way you
depend on some non-free stuff and this makes you a bad person. He may
feel his effort was useless. This may lead into extensive use of
non-free software because, by the words of the advocate "it doesn't
really matter".

Some of my friends are quite serious about free software. At least most
of them still run some pieces of non-free software occasionally. What I
see them doing is, they encapsulate the non-free software in some way to
make sure they can get rid of it reliably once they don't need it
anymore. One of them uses Gobuntu because it gives him an easily
maintainable base. He then has his non-free in separate directories that
he can delete when he wants to get rid of those pieces.

It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
run a piece of non-free software.

--Toni

On Sat, 2008-05-03 at 02:22 -0400, Carsten Agger wrote:
> I've been thinking for some time over which place in Ubuntu would be right
> for me to contribute, and ended up deciding that Gobuntu is what I
> consider most important in the long run: I recommend that people use
> Ubuntu, so that they can have free software, but it would be nice to be
> able to say that it's possible to run on completely free software.
>
> I've been running Ubuntu till now, but have been biding my time, wanting
> to switch to Gobuntu after the Hardy release.
>
> So ... what is there to do? I have no experience with Debian package
> management, but I could learn it, I suppose - I'm mainly a C programmer,
> so if there's changes to be made at the source code level, I could help
> with that.
>
> To which extent is the Gobuntu project a doubling of the efforts of
> gNewSense? I like the idea behind both projects, but would like whatever
> work I end up doing benefitting Ubuntu as a whole where possible, so I'm
> more inclined to help with Gobuntu than with gNewSense.



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Old 05-04-2008, 09:49 AM
Carsten Agger
 
Default Volunteering

Toni Ruottu wrote:
> Some of my friends are quite serious about free software. At least most
> of them still run some pieces of non-free software occasionally. What I
> see them doing is, they encapsulate the non-free software in some way to
> make sure they can get rid of it reliably once they don't need it
> anymore. One of them uses Gobuntu because it gives him an easily
> maintainable base. He then has his non-free in separate directories that
> he can delete when he wants to get rid of those pieces.
>
> It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
> should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
> see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
> wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
> run a piece of non-free software.
>


This is an interesting idea. There already is a basic version of this
program, vrms (= "virtual RMS") which will list all non-free packages on
your system.

Essentially, a "non-free manager" like you suggest would list the user's
non-free packages in a GUI with an option to select them and remove
them. I could write such a program (to start with, it could essentially
be a graphical user interface to vrms).

Do people think there's a significant use case for this application, and
do anynone have more functionality related input (i.e., wishes)?

br
Carsten

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Old 05-04-2008, 11:59 AM
Karl Goetz
 
Default Volunteering

On Sun, 2008-05-04 at 03:26 +0300, Toni Ruottu wrote:

> It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
> should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
> see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
> wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
> run a piece of non-free software.

Please don't twist peoples view of the gNewSense project like this. You
wont be kicked out of the distros community for installing non-free
software. Rather, you will not recieve help installing, running or
maintaining that software.
You would still be welcome to ask for support on the rest of your system
(although if the problems were a result of using said non-free software
you could well get a telling off, which seems fair to me ...)
kk

>
> --Toni

>
>
--
Karl Goetz,
Debian user / Ubuntu contributor / gNewSense contributor
http://www.kgoetz.id.au
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:42 PM
Paul O'Malley
 
Default Volunteering

> This is an interesting idea. There already is a basic version of this
> program, vrms (= "virtual RMS") which will list all non-free packages on
> your system.


please don't suggest to people that VRMS is useful it is well broken at
this stage some of the bugs it reports are not bugs and it missed some
other things - it was fun while it lasted

P.

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Old 05-04-2008, 12:51 PM
Paul O'Malley
 
Default Volunteering

Toni Ruottu wrote:

>
> It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
> should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
> see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
> wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
> run a piece of non-free software.
>

Hi Toni,

The gNewSense community does not resemble that remark.

It is about removing non free blobs and various other FSF type bug removal.
It is not about removing people.

A lot of our users and community use Debian and Ubuntu or other similar
systems as their main computing systems. This is for exactly the reasons
you point to. It is the reality.

What I see you you suggesting is that one thing is exclusive to another,
whereas I see things as being inclusive with small differences.

Perhaps the paradigm that you should look to is one like this:
In the centre of group of people who adopt Free Software there are
certain values:
The ability to run the code for any reason, the availability of source,
the right to modify, and educate yourself with that source, and to
freely distribute your works thereafter.

At the edges we tend to differ, as someone recently paraphrased the
whole Ubuntu Free to redistribute, DFSG and FSF guidelines to me after I
gave them a brief history of FLOSS (note my use of the EU definition of
what it is we use - I find it less tiring than others), it is not a
matter of if your software is free, but which way is your software free.

Well as a community we all work from a common pool of work, but there is
no accounting for taste, and therefore some people run GNOME and some
KDE, we don't force anyone to do anything, nor does Ubuntu, nor does
Debian, nor do Linux Kernel developers.

With all that in mind I ask that the next time you want to use broad
brush strokes ask yourself are you being fair to those in the various
communities around you who work on projects that may at some level feed
into yours.

Regards,

Paul

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Old 05-04-2008, 01:59 PM
Toni Ruottu
 
Default Volunteering

I wrote earlier:

> > It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
> > should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
> > see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
> > wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
> > run a piece of non-free software.

I owe an apology to gNewSense community. I assume that a tool like vrms
(provided that it worked) would not suit gNewSense very well, as I
suspect gNewSense folks would see it as a way of stating that it is ok
to run non-free software as long as you are aware of it. Anything going
further than this claim was unnecessary exaggeration. I'm sorry about
that.

--Toni


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Old 05-04-2008, 02:18 PM
Toni Ruottu
 
Default Volunteering

On Sun, 2008-05-04 at 11:49 +0200, Carsten Agger wrote:
> Toni Ruottu wrote:
> > Some of my friends are quite serious about free software. At least most
> > of them still run some pieces of non-free software occasionally. What I
> > see them doing is, they encapsulate the non-free software in some way to
> > make sure they can get rid of it reliably once they don't need it
> > anymore. One of them uses Gobuntu because it gives him an easily
> > maintainable base. He then has his non-free in separate directories that
> > he can delete when he wants to get rid of those pieces.
> >
> > It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
> > should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
> > see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
> > wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
> > run a piece of non-free software.

> This is an interesting idea. There already is a basic version of this
> program, vrms (= "virtual RMS") which will list all non-free packages on
> your system.
>
> Essentially, a "non-free manager" like you suggest would list the user's
> non-free packages in a GUI with an option to select them and remove
> them. I could write such a program (to start with, it could essentially
> be a graphical user interface to vrms).
> 
> Do people think there's a significant use case for this application, and
> do anynone have more functionality related input (i.e., wishes)?

I think you picked up the right idea. It seems that vrms doesn't
currently work well, so one would have to consider alternative ways of
finding out whether a package is free or not. The goal of such a gui
would also seem to go hand in hand with the overall problem of knowing
what you have installed. The solution would be an application that lists
installed packages, ordered by installation time, with the ability to
filter out free software packages.

I was searching for such a tool, and asked about it at Launchpad
( https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/12959 ), but no-one
pointed one out, so I guess it doesn't exist.

In addition to the problem of getting rid of non-free software there is
also the problem that once you have a non-free repository enabled you
can no longer rely on your package manager to provide you solely free
software. Some users might prefer a warning when installing non-free
software happens. The "Add/Remove..." tool does something like that. I'm
not sure, if it warns you once for each package or once for each
repository.

--Toni



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Old 05-04-2008, 02:24 PM
Karl Goetz
 
Default Volunteering

On Sun, 2008-05-04 at 16:59 +0300, Toni Ruottu wrote:
> I wrote earlier:
>
> > > It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
> > > should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
> > > see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
> > > wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
> > > run a piece of non-free software.
>
> I owe an apology to gNewSense community. I assume that a tool like vrms
> (provided that it worked) would not suit gNewSense very well, as I
> suspect gNewSense folks would see it as a way of stating that it is ok
> to run non-free software as long as you are aware of it. Anything going
> further than this claim was unnecessary exaggeration. I'm sorry about
> that.

Paul never said that there was a right or wrong about running none free
software, please don't put words in his mouth.
What he said was that the reality is that a lot of people run this
software, it is reality nothing more.
What was said about VRMS is that it is broken. The list of what
gNewSense considers problematic is here, in the BTS:
http://bugs.gnewsense.org/Bugs/

kk.

Ps,
I work with several distributions, and contribute to all where i can.
kk

>
> --Toni
>
>
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Debian user / Ubuntu contributor / gNewSense contributor
http://www.kgoetz.id.au
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Old 05-04-2008, 02:27 PM
Karl Goetz
 
Default Volunteering

On Sun, 2008-05-04 at 11:49 +0200, Carsten Agger wrote:
> Toni Ruottu wrote:
> > Some of my friends are quite serious about free software. At least most
> > of them still run some pieces of non-free software occasionally. What I
> > see them doing is, they encapsulate the non-free software in some way to
> > make sure they can get rid of it reliably once they don't need it
> > anymore. One of them uses Gobuntu because it gives him an easily
> > maintainable base. He then has his non-free in separate directories that
> > he can delete when he wants to get rid of those pieces.
> >
> > It seems quite clear that this is one of the use cases that Gobuntu
> > should handle. I suppose the non-Gobuntu Ubuntu folks would be happy to
> > see such tools too. This seems also something that gNewSense folks
> > wouldn't care about as they would rather kick out the users who were to
> > run a piece of non-free software.
> >
>
>
> This is an interesting idea. There already is a basic version of this
> program, vrms (= "virtual RMS") which will list all non-free packages on
> your system.
>
> Essentially, a "non-free manager" like you suggest would list the user's
> non-free packages in a GUI with an option to select them and remove
> them. I could write such a program (to start with, it could essentially
> be a graphical user interface to vrms).


How would this differ from the restricted drivers manager, apart from
its wider scope?
kk

>
> Do people think there's a significant use case for this application, and
> do anynone have more functionality related input (i.e., wishes)?
>
> br
> Carsten
>
> --
> http://www.modspil.dk
>
--
Karl Goetz,
Debian user / Ubuntu contributor / gNewSense contributor
http://www.kgoetz.id.au
--
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