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From: Richard Stallman <rms <at> gnu.org>
Subject: Re: Reaching out to Amazon for credit?
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.gnome.foundation.general
Date: Monday 7th January 2013 02:20:17 UTC (over 5 years ago)
Richard, I would appreciate if you didn't try to use every single
    opportunity that you had to speak negatively about other projects,

Did you verify that accusation before you made it?

You could not have, because it's false.  Just yesterday Amazon was
mentioned, but I did not talk about it.  I campaign against Amazon on
stallman.org, but I didn't raie it here.  It would have been a tangent.

The problem with Ubuntu is not a tangent.  It is a disaster for free
software.  It threatens to lower free software to the level of the malware
that we condemn.

That issue, I raised.  That issue, we must face.

I tried to be brief, so I did not explain _why_ this is important.
The article, http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ubuntu-spyware.html,
explains why, but it seems that is not enough.  I will explain here.

The FSF did not accuse based on a supposition.  We carefully checked
the reports about Ubuntu's conduct before we made a public statement.
We talked with people at the FSF who had studied it.  We talked with
people at Canonical, too.  When it was clear that they were really
making a major Ubuntu feature into spyware, and they showed no
willingness to change it, we pulled out all stops.

    But it is unfair to diminish every single
    Ubuntu contributor and every positive aspect of the distro just
    because you don't like a particular decision or aspect, which happens
    to be optional by the way.

says nothing about
_contributors_ to Ubuntu.  It's not about them.  It says nothing about
people such as you who are associated with Ubuntu.  It's not about
them either.

It's about Ubuntu.  It's about Ubuntu's malicious functionality,
spyware.  This is egregious behavior, and it calls for the strongest
response.  If it is accepted as normal, others are likely to follow
the same path!  We must respond to this as to a shocking crime.

Does Ubuntu have "positive aspect"?  Does it have variants that don't
include the spyware?  They don't change the conclusion.  Positive
aspects can't excuse this crime.  If Ubuntu is guilty only in some
variants, that's still guilty.

We must punish Ubuntu so hard that anyone else will think twice before
following the same route -- and so that Ubuntu will either pull back
or be totally discredited.

However, a modified version of Ubuntu made by a different entity with
an unrelated name is a separate case.  We can judge each of these
based on what it does.  Thus, we do not criticize independent distros
just for being based on Ubuntu.

    and quite frankly I see it more focused on asking people
    to remove Windows and Mac OS X than giving them reasons to install
    free software on its own merits.

Of course!  The idea of the GNU Project is that we want computing
users to have freedom.  We've been focusing on freedom for almost 30 years.

Freedom is why we developed the GNU system.  In particular, freedom is
why we started GNOME.  So when we say what is good about free
software, we mostly talk about the freedom, about the fact that the
users control the software and not vice versa.  (Ubuntu GNU/Linux has
problems in the freedom dimension too; see

However, we also talk about some issues of practical merits that are
very important.  For instance, we say that free software isn't
malicious; it won't spy on you.  Our special condemnation of Ubuntu is
based on the software's practical demerit.

Ironic that just when we start talking about free software based an
issue of practical merits, you respond by criticizing us for not doing
so. ;-}

There are some things that we must not tolerate on any pretext.
Spyware is one of them.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call
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