3rd Fellowship Raffle to attract more Fellows

Bernhard Reiter reiter at fsfeurope.org
Thu Mar 15 12:17:26 UTC 2007

On Thursday 15 March 2007 11:46, Kaloian Doganov wrote:
> Bernhard Reiter <reiter at fsfeurope.org> writes:
>     The process is a high chance that there is more freedom in the
>     end.  Compromises like this - take proprietary stuff to liberate
>     it - have been made by GNU hackers and FSF before, e.g. running on
>     proprietary operating system when the other have been unpractical.
> This is not the first time when FSFE representative used FSF and GNU
> Project as an excuse for distributing proprietary software.  This is
> non sense, since neither FSF nor GNU had ever distributed proprietary
> software.

I am not so sure, there have been machines used and also put at places
that probably had some proprietary software in there, may it be firmware, 
bios or microcode. In addition I think that the humans in those fine 
organistation will have one or the other mistake just like I did
and everybody else does.
Also the question is what constitutes "distributing"?
I am not sure, but the FSF could have helped to get small number of 
devices from vendor to the developer for the purpose of liberating it.
This is different from a distributing larger quanitities.

> Please, choose a better example when justifying your actions.  

I have not chosen a concrete example, but and argument to show you the limit
that sticking to rule like a dogma will sometimes not help your own cause.
Like Guide van Rossum writes in the Python Style guide 
A Foolish Consistency is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds
he means this about code, but it could be expaned to mean goals like freedom
of the society as well.

> You're not like FSF, you're like Linspire or the Debian Project, etc.

I do not know Linspire enough to comment on this part of your remark,
but being like Debian is for the most part a compliment. Debian has done
great work in the area of Free Software, they discuss and enforce licensing
issue like no other GNU/Linux distribution, they seek to get the terminology 
right and manage to do so, they seperate non-free from Free Software and so 
on. Of course there do somethings I disagree with, like treating documents 
like software, having a rough communication style sometimes or running 
servers permanently distributing non-free software.

As for being different die FSF: Of course FSFE is different in a lot of 
aspects, but we do share the common vision of furthering Free Software and
our work in the last 6 years has shown that we manage to work towards to this 
together very successfully. To just name one difference: We are using a 
european style approach to explaining Free Software. 

>     It is just a proposal for doing something useful with the devices.
>     Sending them back will also not be good, as the necessary public
>     reasoning will be quite a lot of work and negative one as well.
> Of course sending them back to the vendor is not nice, and it looks
> like according to FSFE's values, distributing proprietary software is
> much more acceptable.  You value your "public image" more than
> software freedom.

Well, the public image of Free Software 
has an effect on practical software freedom sometimes.
For example without the public opinion against software patents in Europe,
we would be much more limited in what we could programm and use now.
Furthermore I believe that this will get more steps towards Free Software
out of the vendors in question and the devices.

> Making a mistake is one thing.  Trying to justify it in this way, so
> persitently, is something quite different -- it shows that you have
> betrayed our values.

It was a mistake of FSFE to put those devices in the raffle, 
I am not justifying this. Putting them to use with hackers that are able and 
willing to liberate them or make significant progress is in my opinion a good 


FSFE -- Coordinator Germany                                   (fsfeurope.org)
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