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Re: to what extent is the gnu project philosophical?

From: Andreas Enge
Subject: Re: to what extent is the gnu project philosophical?
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2019 19:09:46 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.12.1 (2019-06-15)

Hello Andy,

while I am not very happy about your military analogy, my first reaction
was that indeed, the FSF is there for the philosophy, and GNU for the
practical realisation. But then I think things are not as easy as that.

The FSF is also a charity collecting donations and running servers and so on
for GNU, so it is very practical indeed. The latter could maybe move to GNU
proper, with the former needing to remain at the FSF, as well as legal
matters. And GNU needs a philosophical basis on which to build.

My impression is that the FSF should be responsible for the free software
campaigning part, including also campaigns against DRM and so on. That
includes a lot of what Richard Stallman has been doing over the last years,
outreach at talks, writings and so on, and which are currently hosted
on the GNU website. For instance, assuming the need arises for a GPLv4,
I would rather have it elaborated at the FSF than at GNU.

And on the other hand, maybe just the proposed GNU social contract or a
similar document could be enough as the "philosophical" basis for the GNU
project? This could be complemented by more technical documentation, such
as maintainer and coding guidelines. And we should probably have a discussion
on how to strengthen the overall cohesion of our system, determine a next
big goal (finalisation of the hurd? smartphone operating system?), and
how to get there. This includes practical discussions (what can we do?),
but also "philosophical" ones: Where are users' freedoms most hurt at the
moment, where can we have the biggest impact? And again, it cannot be done
without the FSF, since it might need funding and donation campaigns.


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