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

Josh Boyer jwboyer at
Wed Jan 22 21:10:03 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 12:30 PM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger at> wrote:
> At minimum, we'd probbaly need the Board to simply say that it was okay for
> us to allow searching and pointing to non-free software in the same manner
> as we allow for COPR repos (see the existing FESCo policy for the details).
> More satisfying to the people who raised objections would be to either
> change or rephrase and clarify the pieces in all the Fedora Policies that seem
> to conflict with non-libre software.  Places that I found by quickly
> searching this morning:
> * The Fedora Foundations:
>   The Freedom Foundation is weighted towards free software.  It could be
>   rephrased or changed to make cooperation with non-free software more clear.
>   (Also mentioned on other pages like:
> * Vision statement
>   Probably could work this in by promoting the collaboration element more
>   and talking about collaboration between free software and closed source
>   software.
> * The Mission Statement:
>   * [Our Mission] and [Elements of Fedora's Mission] could be rephrased to
>     show our relation to proprietary software.  Could be similar to the
>     reworking on the Vision Staement.
>   * [Our Core Values] has something interesting: "we guarantee that Fedora
>     will always be free for everyone, everywhere, to use, modify and
>     distribute"  When we think about whether pointing people to proprietary
>     software should be allowed, we tend to think about modification mostly.
>     But we probably should think about the other things mentioned here as
>     well:  Can we/do we wish to allow pointing to software which:
>     * Excludes some people?  (Ex: Not for nuclear plant operators)
>     * Excludes some usages? (Not to be used for evil)
>     * Distribution? (the third party repo is free to redistribute and they
>       give us a license to point to them but our users are not free to
>       redistribute the code that they download through that.)
> * Our Objectives:
>   * [Creating a Free distribution] Probably mention something about people
>     being able to use proprietary software of the products we create
>   * [Objectives Outside of the Fedora Project] Need to change the bullet
>     point rela to proprietary components.

Your wiki search inspired me.  I did one of my own.  I found pages
that have existed since 2008 that mention 3rd party repositories:

We also have one that explicitly tells you how to install Adobe flash,
which is non-free software: (created in 2011)

These are top-level wiki pages.  They are hosted on the Fedora
project's website.  There are others.

I do not doubt for a second that Fedora's objectives and principles
are to promote Free software.  However, saying that a utility that
searches for and enables specific 3rd party repositories that we
already point to on our own wiki is against the very being of Fedora
seems disingenuous at best.


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