firefox, iceweasel, burningdog, icecat, ...

Sam Liddicott sam at
Fri Oct 31 10:20:51 UTC 2008

* Andreas K. Foerster wrote, On 31/10/08 09:25:
> Am Thursday, dem 30. Oct 2008 schrieb sam.liddicott:
>>> Wed Oct 29 2008  7:38:33 pm GMT from Bjoern Schiessle to "P.B."  
>>> Subject: Re: firefox, iceweasel, burningdog, icecat, ...
>>> ...
>>> People who have no problem adding non-Free Software to their browser
>>> probably don't care that much about having a complete free operating
>>> system and/or browser. So they are probably not the main target group of
>>> IceCat.
>> I enjoy the irony of the idea that free software should not allow people to
>> be non-free; reminding me of the US burn-the-flag debate on whether or not
>> flag burning should be a constitutionally supported expression of free speech
>> given that burning a flag sort of opposed the principles of the country and
>> constitution.
> I don't know how this is related to this discussion.
The discussion raised the idea that free software might forbid non-free
plugins for philosophical reasons, leading to the older question of
whether freedom should support the right not to be free. In 1990 it was
a hot topic on whether not not a free country should allow people the
freedom to destroy the symbol of that freedom.

That's how it is related to the discussion. You may have to read the
parent posts.
> Nobody here wants to forbid non-free software. And I do not know anybody
> who says so. We just encourage to use Free Software, but we don't force
> it on anybody.
er... afaik nobody said anybody did. Your perspective in this response
puzzles me. I'm not sure where "here" is or who the "we" is that you
mention and whether or not I am included. I thought I was.
>> But I agree with most posters that free software needs to become relevant to
>> people to whom software freedom is not yet relevant and Ithink that this will
>> be done by being relevant in other ways which first means solving-the-problem
>> at hand.
> Who are these "most posters" who you refer to? I must have missed these 
> postings, for I cannot find them. -- maybe P.B., but P.B. is not 
> "most posters".
I referred to recent discussion on whether or not users of non-free
software were enemies of the FSF; hence the Stallman comment below.

The consensus I had observed (I don't mind if you don't agree) was that
they are not enemies, but merely non-political in the issue and unable
to see the relevance of free software.
>> To me whether or not iceweasel should support non-free flash is another
>> incarnation of the older question: Should Stallman have used a non-free
>> compiler to develop gcc? The answer NOW is "yes" because it clearly DID lead
>> to more freedom, so there is no debate; 
> He was working to write a freedom respecting replacement. That is good.
> The answer would have been the same, if he failed. It was worth trying anyway.

We all know that - the point I was raising is the one you just made:
which is that using non-free software is sometimes excusable when there
is no suitable alternative.

>> but the debate is still on about whether or not non-free flash is important. 
> Most people, who ask for non-free flash are not involved in the process of
> making it free. 
That is merely a reflection of the fact that techies who can work on
software reasonably filled their own needs first, and managed to excuse
themselves when living to their philosphy was very difficult but not

I merely recognize that non-techies are going to want to claim the same
right, and as has been said recently it's better to be their friend than
call them our enemy.
> And by the way: there is a free replacement now:
> So thanks to the strong efforts of the GNU project we have the 
> "freedom of choice" now.
True, but this is not relevant to the philosophical question of using
non-free software until there is an acceptable free alternative.
>> For certain: those who say it
>> should not be supported are those who value a C compiler more than a flash
>> player, but the same is not true for many of those who are yet to embrace
>> free software and whose entry will be delayed until it meets ALL their needs
>> but only if WE insist on it.
> Again: I don't know whom you are referring to.
I was using "those" in a general way. It means anyone who thinks that
users of iceweasel with flash-non-free are enemies to free software. I
don't know if this means you.
> AFAIK IceCat does work with the non-free flash plugin. The difference is 
> only, that the default is a different plugin, ie. gnash, which is 
> Free Software.
Hurrah for that.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list