October 19, 2001

Non-free software and GNOME

Author: JT Smith

From a post to the GNOME foundation list: "Some weeks ago we got a mail from Richard Stallman asking that we
stop
all mentions of non-free software in the GNOME summaries. The
background
for the request was that we had mentioned the beta of Star Office
some
time back."
Subject: Non-free software and GNOME
Date: 19 Oct 2001 13:05:34 +0200
From: Christian Schaller 
To: foundation-list@gnome.org
CC: gnome-summary@gnome.org




Hi,
As most of you probably know myself and Steve George are writing the
GNOME summaries. Personally I also post or approve a lot of the
stories
comming up on Gnotices. 

Some weeks ago we got a mail from Richard Stallman asking that we
stop
all mentions of non-free software in the GNOME summaries. The
background
for the request was that we had mentioned the beta of Star Office
some
time back.

I argued that the purpose of the GNOME summaries was to promote
GNOME
and while our focus of course is free software I felt that it was
natural to mention the availability of non-free software where the
existence of such software where a clear advantage for GNOME.

RMS replied telling us that he disagreed with my argument and saying
the
we are legitimatizing the use of non-free software by mentioning it.
I left it at that, but today RMS remailed us today asking us to
confirm
that we will not mention non-free software anymore.

So I decided to ask the GNOME foundation on policy advice on this
issue.
So what is to be the GNOME policy on this question? Is all mentions
of
non-free software something we should avoid at all costs or should
we
keep with the current unwriten policy of mentioning it when we feel
that
mentioning will benefit the use of free software (GNOME) overall?

Personally I feel that I and Steve have kept a nice balance using
common
sense up to this point, but if we are out of sync with the rest of
the
community please let us know.

Christian


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