The Forgotten "F": A Tale of Fedora's Foundations

Michael Catanzaro mcatanzaro at
Mon Apr 21 14:40:23 UTC 2014

On Mon, 2014-04-21 at 08:36 -0400, Stephen Gallagher wrote:
> At the same time, we
> regularly allow the packaging of software that can interoperate with
> non-free software; we allow Pidgin and other IM clients to talk to
> Google and AOL, we allow email clients to connect to Microsoft
> Exchange, etc. The real problem is that every time a question comes up
> against the Freedom Foundation, Fedora contributors diverge into two
> armed camps: the hard-liners who believe that Fedora should never
> under any circumstances work (interoperate) with proprietary services
> and the the folks who believe that such a hard-line approach is a path
> to irrelevance.

I do like the sound of a Functional pillar -- independently of all else,
it's a good word that starts with F and describes Fedora's mission --
but elevating it above the other pillars? If Functional was to be more
important than Freedom, then shouldn't Fedora host a nonfree repository
and install Adobe Flash by default? It would remiss not to do so, yet
that would contradict our community's rough consensus that Fedora should
not ship any nonfree software, so that can't be right.

The current questions are mostly with regards to what can be displayed
in GNOME Software, and boil down to two distinct points:

1) Is it permissible to promote nonfree desktop software in response to
a user's search (i.e. software from non-Fedora repositories) by default?

2) Is it permissible to promote proprietary web applications (web pages
that run in a chromeless web browser) in response to a user's search?

The board has already decided that (1) is unacceptable, and this seems
to have been (more or less) accepted by all parties.

(2) is the topic currently under discussion. I should note that *even
Richard Stallman* is fine with using proprietary web services; [1] is a
good (short) read. I just do not think that displaying websites the user
might be interested in conflicts with the Freedom pillar. Fedora has
already proved that a fully-free desktop can be (relatively) successful,
but a crusade against proprietary network services seems unlikely to

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 490 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
URL: <>

More information about the devel mailing list