Is Ubuntu commited to free software?

Alan Pope alan at
Wed Jun 9 17:23:26 UTC 2010

Hi Danny,

On 9 June 2010 17:57, Danny Piccirillo <danny.piccirillo at> wrote:
> Of course it is! At least according to our
> philosophy:
> Still, many people don't think that Ubuntu is truly committed to free
> software in practice.

Where "many people" == "the FSF".

> These people can and should be our allies.

I don't particularly want allies that do this:-

and this:-

> Their
> concerns are valid, and they are not difficult to appease. I'd like to
> present a short list of simple ways that Ubuntu could show it's commitment:

How about answering the questions/concerns posed to you in the other
threads you've raised today and engage in the discussion rather than
fire-and-forget. You're in danger of falling into the same behaviour
as other FSF members before you. It goes something like this:-

1. Send a mail mandating how things should be done
2. Lots of people reply, some people ask questions asking you to
clarify position
3. Ignore those questions
4. Choose another mailing list and GOTO 1

I'm all for having a discussion about these things, but I don't
appreciate being talked _at_ by someone who isn't willing to at least

> 1. Offer ways to easily purge all non-free software from one's system.

We have that, and has been for a few releases now. Boot an Ubuntu Live
CD and press F6 at the boot screen/menu, choose "Free Software Only".
Announced over two years ago here:-

> 2. Make a point of saying why and how non-free software was bad, but also
> why the option is given to install it
>  * This would need to be shown every time Ubuntu recommends proprietary
> software like restricted drivers

We do. Jockey pops up a dialog box when you install non-free drivers,
as does totem when you install non-free codecs. Perhaps the wording
could be adjusted/improved to clarify the position, but I think we're
pretty much there.

> That's it!

That's never "it" in my experience. There are always those who will go
further in terms of freedom than you. Other ideas I've seen suggested
which go beyond "That's it!" include such choice suggestions as:-

* Removal of Firefox due to license concerns around the logo usage
* Block installation of non free extensions in Firefox
* Block installation of non-free software full stop
* Only install on systems that have a free software BIOS

..and so on.


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