Re: free, freer, freest
On Thu, Jul 01, 1999 at 11:43:10AM -0600, Bruce Sass wrote:
> A few thought from a non-developer with an interest in Debian's product;
> ending with a question/suggestion directed to RMS.
> Is it Debian GNU/Linux or GNU Debian/Linux.
Debian GNU/Linux, why do you ask? It's stated everywhere.
> The former indicates that Debian is an entity, with its own agenda and
> methodology, based on the GNU tools and the Linux kernel. The later
> indicates an entity, with the GNU agenda and methodology, based on Debian
> tools and the Linux kernel.
You are really thinking in the wrong terms here. Debian is strongly connected
to GNU in many ways, but not part of the FSF. Debian consists of individual
developers. We all dedicate our work to free software, but have different
opinions on licenses etc. The one thing we agree about is the social contract
and the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
> What is the FSF, what does the FSF do that GNU can not, and why.
FSF is the Free Software Foundation. FSF _IS_ GNU.
> >From the pocket dictionary that was within arms reach:
> FREE - not subject to the will of others; unconfined; acquitted.
> GNU's idea of "free" appears quite different: subject to the will of GNU;
> confined to GNU's notion of "free"; obligated to follow GNU philosophy.
> Ya, ok, I am focusing on "free", GNU is focused on "free software" - but
> wouldn't the average reasonable person assume that the "free" in "free
> software" carries the same meaning as the word "free" does when used in
> other contexts. GNU may champion "free software", but it does not
> champion "free", the 17,000+ byte General Public License makes that clear.
Do you really need an antique definition from a pocket dictionary to
understand Free Software? Why are names so important for you? Instead of
focusing how things are called, try to get a feeling for the goals and
The Gnu license exists to protect freedom. Freedom is not something that
comes naturally. It has to be achieved. A democracy needs to be fought for.
A lot of people are not interested in other people being free. The GPL tries
to ensure as much freedom for the Software as possible without loosing
freedom to non-willing parties.
> Mr. Stallman,
> Why doesn't GNU set up their own front-end to Debian,
> one that only allows access to what GNU considers to be "free"?
I am not Stallman, but I think I can guess why. It's all about avoiding
doubled effort. Why should GNU waste energy on adjusting Debian when Debian
can adjust itself to make itself suitabloe for the GNU project?
The GNU project does not want to do everything for themselves. That's only
last resort. If you can find someone to do it for you, that's much better.
The GNU ressources are limited, also. Does make sense to me.
> Users and developers would then be able to make a choice between a
> free Debian style Linux/HURD/whatever distribution, and the GNU window
> into the same distribution.
I think Debian alone can offer both choices, really.
> This suggestion could result in Debian becoming the freest software
> distribution around, rather than a second-rate distribution because it
> is missing currently important pieces like Netscape and ssh.
Neither netscape nor ssh are part of the Debian distribution. I am
completely unimpressed by your lack of understanding of the situation.
Debian will stay the same. The proposed changes do not affect the content of
the Debian distribution. They will not affect the number nor quality of
non-free packages available from Debian hosted servers managed by Debian
If you think we are a second rate distribution because we don't include
non-dfsg free software in it, I am afraid that Debian is not the right
distribution for you.
`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org finger brinkmd@
Marcus Brinkmann GNU http://www.gnu.org master.debian.org
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