[ppc-mobo] Re: GNU License for Hardware

Richard Stallman rms at gnu.org
Thu Oct 14 15:46:19 UTC 1999

    True, but the only non-free software living at a low enough level to be
    considered part of the OS (that I can think of) is qt (which a lot of open
    source folk don't consider a threat to the movement). 

Nowadays Qt is free software, although its license the QPL just barely
qualifies.  Before the QPL, when Qt was non-free, it was such a grave
threat to our community that we started two projects--GNOME and
Harmony--to defend against it.

    The rest is apps
    (many of that being programs that do a job that no free software does
    satisfactorily yet, and even accepted as a necessary evil by FSF.

The truth is more complex than that.  We don't accept non-free
apps as a necessary evil, but we do accept that many GNU users
want to run them.

We used the LGPL for GNU Libc as part of a strategic decision to allow
non-free apps to be distributed for GNU.  But that doesn't mean their
existence is a good thing, or that it is good to distribute them.  We
treat them like non-free operating systems: we support using our
software with them, but we don't encourage anyone to use them, and we
hope you won't either.

It is a real shame that most of the commercial GNU/Linux CD
distributions contain non-free software.  I'm urging them to release
versions that are wholly free.

I hope this shows that the GNU Project is not as extremist and
inflexible as it is sometimes made out to be.  We don't see issue as
not an all-or-nothing one.

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