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

inode0 inode0 at
Wed Jan 22 03:33:55 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 5:37 PM, Paul W. Frields <stickster at> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 11:45:06AM -0800, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
>> On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 01:37:38PM -0500, Christian Schaller wrote:
>> > Hi Toshio,
>> > While we might want to update some of the pages you mention, for
>> > most of them there is no need.
>> >
>> I both agree and disagree with you here.  There is no *need* to update the
>> other pages mentioned.  As I said, the minimum that the Board would have to
>> decide upon for FESCo to write a policy for pointing to repositories
>> contianing non-free content would be whether Fedora should allow that
>> specific pointing.
>> However, I think it is desirable to make changes to those pages.  The
>> support that Fedora has for libre software is an underlying philosophy that
>> subtly affects many of our policies and future decisions.  It's important to
>> document these things so that we know what we and our future contributors
>> are on the same page as we go down the road.
> I tend to agree with Toshio here as well.  These statement changes are
> important to document, and not making them while in practical terms
> making real changes would inevitably confuse contributors.  If the
> idea is to lobby for a slightly revised approach, let's make it
> clear.


> Ten years is a long time to do things one way.  The WGs are evidence
> that Fedora is changing the way it approaches its "product."  If
> success requires giving incrementally more latitude in some areas, we
> should fully consider that.


> I agree with Toshio that changing the permeability of the membrane
> between Fedora and non-free software may not fit with how Fedora's
> philosophy is expressed, *as currently written*.  But that doesn't
> mean the change should be dismissed on that basis ("It was never thus,
> thus it may never be").

Well, is it a question of how Fedora's philosophy is expressed or is
it a question of what Fedora's philosophy is? Do you think it is just
currently written in some confusing or unclear fashion? Or do you
think it says precisely what the Fedora Project stands for?

Core values, agreed upon and accepted for a long period of time are
going to be hard to change, even incrementally. It is changing the
fundamental character of the Project to do so. Before ever considering
abandoning long held guiding principles I'd like to see pretty
compelling reasons to do so. At this point it seems a hope that by
doing so we might recover some of our lost user base. That is a hope.
I have the hope that by the introduction of the WGs (all of them) we
will gain many new users over the coming years and I'd like to let
that play out for a while before jumping off any bridges.


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