Freespire's Google ads: "What is Ubuntu Missing?"

Alexander Jacob Tsykin stsykin at
Tue Oct 3 13:31:54 BST 2006

> > I merely observed that you cannot really call this a free desktop,
> If you cannot call Freespire a 'free desktop' then neither can you
> call Ubuntu a 'free desktop' for, as someone else points out, you must
> install w32codecs and nvidia-glx to support proprietary formats and
> specific hardware.
however Ubuntu does not come with them
> There is in fact EXTREMELY little difference, conceptually, between
> Ubuntu and Freespire. Both are based on open source software. Neither
> REQUIRES proprietary software to function -- Freespire provides and
> HIGHLIGHTS a full 'open source'-only version for the "free software
> purist" (I might be slightly modifying the wording of that quote).
the difference is small, but important. The open source version is a true free 
operating system, if it has closed source software added, it is not. It's a 
simple definition.
> The primary difference is that Freespire offers the OPTION to install
> proprietary software that is 100% illegal if it were done through the
> 'open source' model. In most jurisdictions to which members of these
> lists belong playing DVDs without an appropriate licence is illegal.
we are in agreement here.
> > not that it
> > is a bad thing. I happen to disagree with it, because I prefer software
> > to be free,
> Unfortunately most of the tempest in this particular teapot does not
> stem from such a clearly articulated dislike of the notion of
> proprietary software/formats (as you put forth) but, instead the
> tempest is because of dislike of the company itself and the
> fabrication of "facts" regarding said companies behaviour.
Of course, and that I disagree with, however I still disapprove of freespire's 
approach. They have a right to take it on, and people have a right to use it, 
but I don't like it, and not because I oppose closed source software on 
ideological grounds. I simply think it is better for the development of 
mankind in general if software is kept open.
> > and so I prefer, in principle, the slight extra difficulty of
> > installing any proprietary software I might use, which si very little and
> > does not include w32codecs and nvidia-glx, but the fact remains that what
> > you are describing is not, and cannot be said to be, a free desktop, in
> > the free and open source software sense.
> It IS "a fully free desktop, in the free and open source software
> sense". It seems like there is absolutely no requirement that you use
> the so-called "non-free" components, just like there's no requirement
> in Ubuntu that you use w32codecs, nvidia-glx, RealPlayer, etc.
and if it is supplied without them, it is free. If it is not, then it's not.


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