3rd Fellowship Raffle to attract more Fellows

Matt Lee mattl at gnu.org
Tue Mar 13 22:46:49 UTC 2007

On Tue, Mar 13, 2007 at 11:08:51PM +0100, Georg C. F. Greve wrote:

> As was pointed out by others before, this part of the raffle is about
> giving developers access to hardware that is coming closest to our
> goals and thus give them the best start in making them entirely free.

That's not a very good point though. 

If you want to get these things made free, put out a call for help on
the website, and ask people to apply giving some vague idea of how
they'll be used, and then decide, privately to give them if you must.

> For mobile devices it is unfortunately not yet true and requires more
> work by the Free Software community.

Does that mean we should abandon our ethics for the sake of
convienience? I can't get my ATI card to work with free drivers, so is
the FSFE going to recommend I use proprietary drivers? By the way, the
machine is an all-in-one unit, so I can't swap out the card. 

What do you suggest I do?

> Without Debian there would have been no Ubuntu, and without Ubuntu
> there would be no Gnewsense. And Gnewsense itself helped influence
> others to think about providing pure Free Software distributions.

I think if Mark Shuttleworth had wanted to build a distro, he would
have done it anyway, regardless of Debian. The fact that Debian
provided a lot of the groundwork is a great resource, but that
doesn't mean people should be recommending Ubuntu or Debian to others.

I'd be more concerned by the fact that somewhere along the way, even
Debian with their freer-than-free attitude, decided that non-free
software was okay too.

> In the case of Ubuntu, the distribution was available without cost on
> the internet. That is not true for hardware. But if someone had told
> me that they wanted to create Gnewsense and they needed access to
> Ubuntu to do that job, I would indeed have sent them a DVD.

RMS using Debian is very different from RMS promoting Debian. I'm sure
if you emailed RMS five years ago and asked him which distro to
install, he wouldn't have had an answer for you, or would have told
you that no distro was a good distro as they all shipped proprietary

If I ask the FSFE Fellowship which is a good PDA, am I going to be
told to buy an N800 because it's almost free software?

I think the best cause of action now, would be for FSFE to pull its
entire raffle and rethink it's commitments to the free software
community, putting the interests of software freedom before

I'm hearing a lot of Fellows say they won't renew, I only hope they'll
at least consider donating their money to the FSF, rather than
spending it elsewhere, because free software needs all the supporters
we can get, and now is not the time for us to start alienating people
for the sake of convienience.

Join the FSF - http://www.fsf.org/associate/support_freedom/join_fsf

Donate - http://www.fsf.org/associate/support_freedom/donate


Matt Lee
Chief Webmaster, GNU Project - http://www.gnu.org/ - Free as in Freedom
Free Software Foundation - Free Software, Free Society - http://www.fsf.org/

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