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GNU/LinEx, Debian, and the GNU FDL

On Sun, Aug 31, 2003 at 10:22:33PM -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> I am the one in the FSF who has made statements about Debian and
> non-free software, and the statements I have made are true as far as I
> know.  If you think anything I said is not true, please show me the
> statement and the relevant facts.  If something I said is incorrect, I
> will change it.

This is a bit of tangent, but your remarks here reminded me of a story I
read recently.


RMS provided us with this update on GNU/LinEx: The developers told me that
GNU/LinEx included only free software, but after this interview was published
various people have checked it and found non-free programs in it. I therefore
cannot recommend GNU/LinEx at present. I hope that this problem will be

I have seven questions for you based on this episode:

* Wasn't it Debian developers who brought the non-free components of GNU/LinEx
  to your attention?

* Shouldn't you familiarize yourself better with a product before
  endorsing it (than you did with GNU/LinEx)?

* What distribution do you recommend today, given that GNU/LinEx doesn't even
  segregate non-free into a separate distribution as Debian does?

* Have you stopped endorsing Debian GNU/Linux because we're giving you
  static about the GNU FDL?

* If Debian stopped distributing non-free software from its mirror
  network (and made no mention of it during its install process, and so
  forth), would you begin endorsing Debian again?

* Is your endorsement of Debian GNU/Linux more contingent upon our
  shipping GNU Manuals in "main" than it is upon our ceasing to distribute
  non-free software in "non-free"?

* Isn't it reasonable, in the absence of any statements from you to the
  contrary, for people to assume that the answer to the preceding
  question is "yes", given that GNU/LinEx doesn't distinguish between
  free and non-free software anymore than most distributions do, and
  since the status quo hasn't actually changed in the distribution
  market, Debian hasn't actually done anything *except* challenge the
  freeness of GNU FDL to lose your endorsement?

G. Branden Robinson                |      "There is no gravity in space."
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      "Then how could astronauts walk
branden@debian.org                 |       around on the Moon?"
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |      "Because they wore heavy boots."

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