[Arm-netbook] Debian GNU/Linux, nonfree software, and FSF's free distros list
paul at boddie.org.uk
Sun Oct 16 12:48:38 BST 2016
On Sunday 16. October 2016 12.14.11 Philip Hands wrote:
> The fact that some of the "libre" OSs base themselves on Ubuntu strikes
> me as particularly deranged, given that Ubuntu is actually a step
> further away from what they want, but there you go.
I did find it rather odd that Trisquel had switched to using Ubuntu as their
base rather than Debian: it makes wider architecture support a real problem
because Ubuntu has narrowed its own support, presumably dropping non-
lucrative/non-enterprise architectures, meaning that one presumably has to
reactivate other architectures in Ubuntu to propagate and access the necessary
content. I imagine that they also need to do a lot more filtering and
rebuilding on what Ubuntu provides than they would had they stuck with Debian,
but I didn't follow the decisions around them switching from one to the other.
I don't want to get into arguments about popularity, compromises, and so on,
but I have an observation to make. If there were a more conservative base for
Debian, meaning that certain controversial or unwanted content would be
excluded in those base packages, then the derivatives wanting to preserve that
conservatism would have an easier task branching out in their own direction,
and it would probably even help the greater Debian distribution in terms of
managing and maintaining the archive. I think that's what people are looking
for from Debian.
I've looked into various libre distributions (as anyone reading this list
might have noticed), and it is an annoyance that while considering how one
might bootstrap one of the non-Debian-derived libre distributions on other
architectures, Debian has supported such architectures all along. It really
should be a matter of selectively obtaining packages already built by Debian
and no more. Instead, it seems like auditing is still required, and this
appears to be the time-consuming part. That said, I'm still familiarising
myself with things like gNewSense, so I could be wrong, I suppose.
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