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

Eric H. Christensen sparks at
Mon Apr 21 17:37:02 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA512

On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 12:37:57PM -0400, Stephen Gallagher wrote:
> On 04/21/2014 11:56 AM, Eric H. Christensen wrote:
i> > packaging or otherwise making it easier for one to choose
> > proprietary software.  When we start pushing proprietary solutions
> > in our "software store" right along side FOSS solutions we are
> > devaluing our FOSS and making it easier for people to ignore the
> > software we hope they'll migrate to.
> This is a key point that I disagree with entirely. I think we could
> attract many more users if we were the easiest way for them to get a
> free, open-source friendly operating system that also allowed them to
> continue using the tools they want to use.

Well, that largely won't happen anyway if they are coming from a Microsoft Windows environment.

> I don't think it's unreasonable for us to allow them to use Chrome
> from the Google repository. I don't think it's unreasonable to allow
> them to use Steam from the Valve repository. Device drivers get into
> hazy territory, but I think it's a conversation worth having.

Again, no one is preventing the user from installing all these things.  We shouldn't be expected to provide every last bit on a silver plater, either.  That's a game in futility with many legal and privacy issues added to the technical nightmare.

> But I think that trying to actively discourage (read: prevent) users
> from installing such software is harmful to our Mission of advancing
> Free Software.

What, specifically, are we preventing users from installing?

Exactly what's your mission here?  More users or more contributors?  Users are good but contributors are better.  And how are these contributors going to contribute to their proprietary solutions that we now provide for them?  How do we support something that is simply provided to us as a binary and has no upstream bug tracking or support (outside of a support contract)?  How are these users going to react when all the software they know and love (that we provide) breaks due to no fault of our own?  Are we going to hold back bug or security fix because it breaks a proprietary program but fixes it for everything else?  There are many reasons to say that supporting/shipping/supporting proprietary solutions is a bad idea.

- -- Eric

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Eric "Sparks" Christensen
Fedora Project

sparks at - sparks at
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