Frederico Muñoz fsmunoz at sdf.lonestar.org
Wed May 9 18:30:03 UTC 2001

E L Tonkin wrote:

> You're quite right; the T-shirt thing is a pure sideline, and rather
> off-topic for this list. 

I don't agree; the list as it stands is about fsfeurope discussion; 
since there isn't any other
dedicated list I think it's on topic.

> If it's ok with everybody, I'll take it off this
> list, maybe somebody would kindly put together some sort of list for
> requests, suggestions and so on; the commercial side of things doesn't
> need to be entirely on the discussion list. 

Well, it's not as much commercial as it is of common interest to many 
ppl involved... and the ppl interested
in the t-shirts are most likelly those that are list members.

> However, I will volunteer to
> get the T-shirt thing fixed if people want this. Who's in Official Control
> of FSFE commercial sidelines, and could they fix a separate list from
> here?

Yes, if a separate list exists than it would be probably off-topic 
here... and even then only the specific details,
the poll about interest would still be on-topic IMHO.

> Otherwise, I'd rather see a bunch of annoyed answers leading to a six-week
> thread war, than I would a sort of stunned silence... Or have we
> elsewhere, previously, discussed the points that came up? 
> Stuff like
> * what /are/ the short-term aims of the fsfe? Establishing GPL for each
> country, first? Then what?

Well, my personal view is that the FSFE could be an organization akin to 
the FSF but adaptaded to Europe,
where issues aroud free software, license issues, developers 
connections, commercial viability of free software,
the GNU Project, etc would be discussed and the FSFE would in some sense 
in a position to represent free software
as a whole in what respect the media, politicians, interested parts, etc.

> * What about long-term aims?

Eh, this are long term aims ;)

> * Is the FSFE structure good enough? What's wrong with it? What do we need
> to fix? What about the sub-FSF chapters? Do geeks really fit into a
> hierarchy? (hint: no) 

Well, the FSF proves otherwise, and it would be foolish not to draw from 
their experience. Eventually when common trust builds
enough and involved ppl get to know each other the hierarchy will mean 
less... as it is I understand the need for the present setup.

> * Policy on finances, financial gain, industry freebies... 

Yes, nice ones, and topics in which I will only speak after seing some 
kind of initial statement ;)

> * Exact structure of the FSFE, granted that those in power have absolute
> authority. How 'reachable' an organisation should the FSFE be? What do you
> do if you have this Great Idea you want to put before them? The FSFE need
> to listen, or they'll end up out of touch...

Of course, the FSFE needs to listen, and listen really carefully; after 
all the FSFE must stay in touch with
the common problems and emergent ones (the national chapters will help a 
lot on this). That doesn't
exclude hierarchy and the need for a formal structure and associated powers.

> * What about your average idiot, who thinks Windows is complicated? I am
> sorry to say it, but we've been working on it for several years and we
> STILL don't have a version of GNU/Linux that installs and /does stuff/
> painlessly. Is that an FSF(E) problem? Do we care about Software For Your
> Average Idiot? or do we tell them to go hang?... or do we grit our teeth,
> take a copy of The Inmates Are Running The Asylum, and work out what they
> /do/ need?


That work is better left to the distributions if you ask me... but the 
FSFE is also about the promotion *and* development
of Free Software, so you have a point. Still, I would not put specific 
things like that high on the list, but I'm open to suggestions
on how the FSFE can help Linux-based GNU systems with specific problems.

> * Directing software development. IMHO the things that GNU/Linux currently
> needs ought to be defined, decided upon, and integrated into Debian or
> whatever. No doubt Debian think this too, and are busy doing it. Is this
> at all a FSF(E) problem? 

First off, dont' forget the GNU system proper... GNU/Hurd is giving it's 
first steps and we are trying to
have a woody release of it (off-topic, I know).

I have some reservations about direct involvement of the FSFE is 
specific matters like that... anyway, if it's
The things that GNU/Linux needs vary wildly according to ppl and 
dists... We can take Debian as an example
since Debian as the same spirit, but for example the things needed 
appear to be commercial software according
to the number of CD's stuffed with proprietary software that many dists. 
ship and advertise as their main advantage.
Now here is something the FSFE has something to do about ;)

> * What about community? Does the FSFE have interest in getting into
> establishing any LUG-style initiatives? 

That would be nice, and I'n sure that some kind of annual general 
meeting and other meetings promoted
by the local chapters would be nice; the FSFE IMHO could bring the free 
software message and spirit
to lots of ppl, and activities like meetings, discussions, presence in 
exibitions, etc. would certainly be helpful...

> * If the free software community, what about trade union stuff, people
> being forced to sign NDAs then getting hobbled by them in their free
> software work? What about working out reasonable NDAs in the spirit of the
> GPL? (NDA==Non Disclosure Agreement)

Yes! The FSFE needs to be very active in that regard! That's the sort of 
thing that I see the FSFE doing a lot,
mainly because that's the kind of stuff that get's passed by a lot of 
ppl.'Filling a gap' is a cliche, but...

> * How about tracking evil DMCA-style laws in each country? That's an FSFE
> issue. Who does it? What do you do if you want to contribute info?

DItto. Contact the FSFE. THings will probably have to be worked out as 
they appear though, it's a huge
and complex list of possible actions and ways of  doing things.

> * To repeat myself once more, what about the whole damn woman issue? (And
> /be/ political, people, would you? This is a discussion list. If you
> think it's all a non-issue, say so)

Who's that damn woman? ;)

Ehe, yes, well, I have no specific opinion on that one.

> * What about stuff like legal defence, patents, all that? Does the
> FSFE get into all that? How much?

Indeed; we here all the time that we must be prepared to defend the GPL 
on court... the FSFE must live up
to that rally. Now, in what specific things the FSFE would have to go 
that long will probably depend a lot.

> * How about stuff like DVD regionality, and blah? Would the FSFE consider
> working out which countries having region-free DVD is legal in, to be part
> of their job? True, it's hardware, but it's ABOUT the freedom of
> individuals, and DeCSS is about software. I consider this to be a place
> that /somebody/ has to work in, if the word 'free' is to continue having
> meaning. 

Don't know enough of this topic to have an opinion... but if it is about 
freedom in using software
than it's FSFE business.

> I noticed earlier that somebody has a .sig file asking what they'll do
> when their child asks them where they were when freedom of speech was
> taken away from the Internet. Well, that day is more or less here. Idiot
> companies are verging on the side of total corporate paranoia, attempting
> control of every media file out there. True, they won't stop the
> determined, but... 
> And there are things we can do. On all issues that threaten free software.
> Logos, believe me, are neither here nor there. And there's lots of things
> people can do, today, to help, and we're all sitting here discussing
> logos, when we should be ripping the legal throat out of immoral
> industry initiatives and Saving The World From The Evil Software
> Industry... (emphasis added)
> All rather confusing, really
Eh, yes; I'm sorry if I wasn't very specific, but the sheer number of 
really usefull remarks you had was overwhelming,
and to many of them I can only say abstract intentes; I can see exactly 
the kind of problems and discussions you are
antecipating though, and it's indeed something we need to discuss a lot 
(and something the core team neads to clarify).

Best Regards,


Frederico Munoz
fsmunoz at sdf.lonestar.org

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