Proposal: Revision of policy surrounding 3rd party and non-free software
cschalle at redhat.com
Tue Jan 21 20:53:41 UTC 2014
----- Original Message -----
> From: "Bill Nottingham" <notting at redhat.com>
> To: "Fedora community advisory board" <advisory-board at lists.fedoraproject.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:25:43 PM
> Subject: Re: Proposal: Revision of policy surrounding 3rd party and non-free software
> Christian Schaller (cschalle at redhat.com) said:
> > I actually took the jump and moved my mothers computer over to Linux this
> > Christmas. As it turned out the built in PDF viewer in Fedora couldn't
> > properly handle these PDFs she got sent every Month from a company she
> > works with. Having this work was a crucial feature for her, so in the end
> > I installed the Adobe Reader which handled the files perfectly. If that
> > had not been an option I would have had to revert her system back to
> > Windows as I couldn't have left her with a system that for her was
> > unusable.
> > So my mother is not very technical at all and not really part of the core
> > audience for Fedora, but her example rings true for a lot of people who do
> > fit into the audience we are targeting.
> Hooray gendered (or aged) anecdotes. :/ Let's try not to perpetuate
> stereotypes where we can, even accidentally?
> Anyway, it's true that we can all come up with pragmatist cases where we
> needed to install non-free software on a system at one time or another,
> whether it's "my kid needed the ancient deprecated ICA client" or "I got
> my taxes audited because of Evince!"
> What seems to be clear, though, is that there's a definite disconnect as to
> what level of acknowledgement of the non-free 3rd-party software ecosystem
> around Fedora is acceptable to people. I'd agree with Toshio - it's not as
> simple as just changing a policy and allowing it - depending on the level of
> integration requested, it does seem like it clearly doesn't fit the vision,
> objectives, foundations as they're currently written.
> > For a lot of users not having the
> > Nvidia driver can for instance be the difference between the system being
> > usable or not for them, just like Acrobat reader was for my mom. Or you
> > could be working for a company which got a web service that only works
> > properly in Chrome, so without Chrome Linux would not be an option for you
> > (in my previous job that was the case with the business banking solution
> > we used, it only worked in Chrome and Explorer).
> ... and what does it help the user if we offer these things and then
> randomly break them in our update path, as we fix the software we do
> support? (Less likely for Chrome. More likely for nVidia driver or Acrobat.)
Well to fix/reduce this problem we are investigating things like Lennarts LinuxApps proposal, using
containers and bundled libraries and so on. But I wanted to try to keep things a bit focused and
tackle issues one at a time.
I mean there are a lot of challenges here and as the list you posted in an earlier email demonstrates, it is not a 'just do this 1 thing and everything will be fine' situation. But we should avoid using one set of challenges as an excuse to not try to resolve others even if each sub part is of course just a partial fix in itself.
In the end the main question for me is if we are prepared to trust the working groups to make the products they have been tasked with making,
or are we going to second guess them every step of the way? Are there challenges here? Yes there is. Will things be perfect? No they will not.
But we can not make such questions a reason for not trying to do something, because if we do we will end up doing absolutely nothing.
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