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

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Wed Jan 22 22:25:03 UTC 2014

On Wed, 2014-01-22 at 17:04 -0500, Bill Nottingham wrote:
> Josh Boyer (jwboyer at said: 
> > > Pedantic but (maybe) important distinction: the idea would be to prepopulate
> > > (in some way or another) the software installer application with _specific_
> > > 3rd party repositories (in the mockup, Adobe, Dropbox, Google, Nvidia, and
> > > Steam) -- akin more to having the default Fedora bookmarks include the
> > > download pages at those companies than to a Google search. Or am I
> > > misunderstanding?
> > 
> > The bookmark analogy seems fair to me, yes.  However, it might be
> > feasible to include these "bookmarks" without having them displayed by
> > default and instead requiring a user to toggle a checkbox or such to
> > enable them.
> I'd rather not include any metadata or links to particular repositories in
> Fedora itself:
> - packaging is a really crappy way to have to update a software
>   source list if we were to get some new third party source
> - it's also a really crappy way to *disable* a source from being
>   shown to users if we for some reason need to do so, and do so quickly
>   (waves at spot)
> This is regardless of whether the third-party repo contains free or non-free
> software - the same issues apply to both cases.
> Once we take that step, Adam's suggestion honestly makes the most sense to
> me - a web service exists that third parties can register their repositories
> with. They'd register what format they're providing software in/for (yum
> repos, apt repos, etc.), what OSes/releases they're targeting (Fedora, RHEL,
> Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, whatever), and some metadata (keywords, icons, etc.).

That's not actually what I was suggesting, FWIW. My take on this issue
is the fact they have to build sixteen different repos and sets of
packages in different formats is a big part of the problem, and when I
say 'a free Steam' - or, if you like, 'a pip-alike for apps', or
whatever - I really mean a distribution platform, not just a bit of
glue. It wouldn't work for something very tied to system internals like
nvidia, of course, but that's a special case; the general case of this
topic is something like chrome, and for that case, a distro-agnostic
secondary packaging layer (like all the cool language ecosystems are
building these days) seems a reasonable design. But your proposal is
interesting too.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | XMPP: adamw AT happyassassin . net

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