Comment on "Nine Attitude Problems in Free and Open Source Software"

MJ Ray mjr at
Sat Oct 25 09:36:29 UTC 2008

Yavor Doganov <yavor at> wrote: [...]
> To teach them to insist on their freedom, you have to set an example.
> The GNU project has always done this -- there was never a /non-free
> directory at, and [...]

No, it just gets labelled as a manual, or a political text, or ...

> [...]  Debian's contribution to the Free World is
> tremendous, and nobody could ever deny that.  On philosophical level,
> they are failing because they accepted the "ruinous compromise".

On the philosophical level, I believe that the compromise with legacy
manual publishers that the GNU project accepted (allowing the likes of
O'Reilly to have unmodifiable adverts in manuals for free software, in
order to encourage publication
) is far more ruinous than the debian project continuing to support
users of stuff that the free software community hasn't yet obsoleted.

> [...]  Debian as a project cannot teach users to
> defend their freedom. [...]

Then nor can FSF, because it has accepted many compromises which means
its message inevitably must contain "but your freedom doesn't matter
in cases X, Y and Z".  I have some hopes that other, member-led
organisations will be able to teach users clearly, but they're not
doing so yet.

MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative
(Notice tel:+44-844-4437-237

More information about the Discussion mailing list