Proposal: Revision of policy surrounding 3rd party and non-free software

Bill Nottingham notting at
Tue Jan 21 19:51:26 UTC 2014

Christian Schaller (cschalle at said: 
> While we might want to update some of the pages you mention, for most of
> them there is no need.  They are just general statements about wishing to
> support free software, which we do.  And as I mentioned in the original
> email, we need to have users to achieve that.  There are some issues
> driving users away from Fedora that we can't fix (ie.  software patent
> mess), but we should try to fix the things we can.

You mention patents... but that's not the only kind of contributory
infringement that can exist. Can't help but notice the inclusion of
the nVidia driver in the examples and in the discussion. Is this stating
that Fedora and its primary sponsor considers the act of facilitating the
use of non-GPL modules in kernel space is completely OK from a copyright

Because that would actually be a fairly large change for both Fedora and

> Our influence with the rest of the world and promoting freedom rests on us
> having users and obviously the way we have been building Fedora and the
> policies around Fedora used so far is not giving us that.

In terms of userbase, Fedora can definitely say that, and it's up to the project
to consider whether that's due to:

- high rate of change and instability in updates
- short lifecycle of releases
- project's inability to work with those that embed it for actual product
- large changes in major functional areas (desktop, init, etc.)
- lack of preinstalls on common hardware
- inability to install non-Free software in the GUI without manual work
- inability to install patent-concerned software without manual work/
  inability to play popular media
- thanks, I'll just use my tablet and I don't need another OS
- Windows or Mac now 'good enough' for their client use
- lack of focus on a particular use case (such as developers!)

Admittedly, Fedora doesn't have necessarily the time or the mechanism to do
isolated testing on any of these axes, so the plan appears to be a shotgun
approach to whichever areas managers feel like targeting? That's not
inherently wrong, I'm just curious why this one was chosen as one, and if
it's as simple as "it's pretty easy to do technically." (As opposed to
"work with those that embed Fedora", which can't be done in three lines of
code somewhere.)

> So we have decided to change, both in technical terms with the Fedora Next
> plan, but we also need to revisit how we practice our policies, which is
> what this proposal is about.  



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