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Re: [Ambassadors] Re: Fedora 11: What do we expect?



On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 12:22 PM, Joseph Smidt <josephsmidt gmail com> wrote:
>     I think we are attacking the wrong goal.  What people want is
> that their OS "Just Works".
>
>     What Fedora really needs to do is find a legal way to make all of
> these things "Just Work".  As long as the OS just works, newbies will
> love it.
>
>      Most people don't care if their driver came from Nvidia or not,
> as long as it just works and gives equal performance.


This type of thread in general in my opinion illuminates the biggest
philosophical difference between Fedora and Ubuntu.

People, in general, do want their OS and applications to just work.
They don't care about the technology or freedom.

Fedora (and hopefully the vast majority, if not all of its
contributors) do value freedom. The understand that one of the
foundational goals that Fedora supports is Freedom. I am not on FESCo
or the Fedora board, but I have to imagine that one of the main
questions that those guys ask when faced with a decision is 'what's
the impact to a users freedom?'
I am of the opinion that you don't become more free by using,
including, or advocating non-free software.

Fedora, in my opinion, is rapidly becoming the standard-bearer for
software freedom. Yes we tolerate binary blobs in firmware, but show
me another distribution with the same dedication to freedom. The
closest that I know of is gnewsense - and honestly they don't have
anywhere near the footprint that Fedora or any other major
distribution. Our stance on freedom has allowed us to even change some
very large companies licensing agreements (Yahoo for instance
http://www.zimbra.com/forums/announcements/19581-license-5-0-7-foss.html
).

Honestly our goals are not necessarily to have the most users and even
the biggest mindshare. Our goal is to further free software.

I like the term that Rahul applied to us - Pragmatic Extremists
http://rahulsundaram.livejournal.com/19456.html

And in each of these suggestions - I think we need to ask if we are
furthering freedom.  - if we aren't then such a suggestion violates
one of our four foundations, and should probably be dismissed out of
hand.

Rather than working on what will be a huge uphill battle to add
non-free things like binary drivers for video cards we should invest
that effort in projects like nouveau.

Unfortunately this seems to pop up about every 3-4 months, and this
seems to be a growing pain with people. I recall having a very similar
argument over the mp3 codec with Greg DeKoenigsberg and Alex Maier
about 3 years ago. I don't know how you impress upon people the
ideological importance of software freedom in a project like Fedora, I
don't really even know how my viewpoint came to be different, though I
do note that the more I contribute to an open source project the more
important that I feel that it is. Perhaps we can find a good way to
convey this in our mentoring efforts.


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