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

Justin M. Forbes jmforbes at
Wed Jan 22 21:39:15 UTC 2014

On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 10:44:00AM -0500, Christian Schaller wrote:
> I once again disagree on the characterization of this being about giving up 
> Freedom. You have of course a subjective right to feel that way, but it is
> not an objective fact. I also object to the claim that we included this item
> because it's the easiest. In fact we included it well knowing that it would actually be 
> one of the hardest to accomplish, not from a technical perspective, but due to the
> political process that would come with it, as this mailing list thread is proof of.

Freedom is subjective, and nothing will change that. But here is what
scares me about this proposal more than any technical details.  As I see
it, best case with implementing this, we gain tons of new users.  If this
item alone gives us tons of new users though, it seems that these would be
the type of users who can't be bothered to follow a simple how-to document
which outlines exactly how to install most 3rd party software in easy copy
and paste instructions. It seems unlikely that many of these users will go
on to become contributers.  Still, new users is not a bad thing.  On the flip
side by changing the principals of the Fedora project (agree, or disagree,
it is subjective, but as this thread shows, there are a lot of people on
both sides of the fence), we risk possible bad press, and most importantly
losing a number of contributers to the project.  I cannot imagine any
number of non contributing users gained that would offset a loss of
Sure, it *is* possible that there would be a press storm, some good, some
bad, and it all blows over, we get new users, and lose no one.  But if this
is the best case scenario, is this a risk we are really willing to take?
This is not something that we can just back out of if it doesn't work.
Reversing a policy can be fast, but it can take years to win back
contributors once they have found a new home.


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