FSF and his recommended distributions

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vita_cell
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Joined: 07/19/2015

I know, that FSF recommends fully free GNU+Linux distros. But what about FreeDOS, it is also free software. And Debian GNU+Hurd? what about LibertyBSD, all these are free software operating systems, allright, some are more limited than others, but still free as in freedom.

kokomo_joe

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Does anyone know if they still use the OpenBSD ports tree or do they have their own audited for freedom? I've never used a BSD but my understanding is that non-free software was optionally available through the OpenBSD ports tree.

JadedCtrl
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Joined: 08/11/2014

We use the OpenBSD ports tree, deblobbed of non-free SW.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Joined: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> We use a deblobbed OpenBSD ports tree.

When writing about blobs in the context of a BSD system (in particular to a
GNU/Linux distro mailing list) I suggest that you clarify which meaning of
"blob" you mean in order to avoid the misunderstanding described below. As
https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html#BSD explains:

> Nonfree firmware programs used with Linux, the kernel, are called
> “blobs”, and that's how we use the term. In BSD parlance, the term
> “blob” means something else: a nonfree driver. OpenBSD and perhaps other
> BSD distributions (called “projects” by BSD developers) have the policy
> of not including those. That is the right policy, as regards drivers;
> but when the developers say these distributions “contain no blobs”, it
> causes a misunderstanding. They are not talking about firmware blobs.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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name at domain wrote:
> I know, that FSF recommends fully free GNU+Linux distros.

The FSF's free distro guidelines at
https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html are OS
and kernel agnostic. Even if currently all of the listed systems are
GNU/Linux or GNU/GNU Linux-libre systems, a qualifying free distro could be
written that has neither GNU nor any free variant of the Linux kernel.

> But what about FreeDOS, it is also free software. [...]
> what about LibertyBSD, all these are free software operating systems [...]

Have these OSes been submitted for review?

> And Debian GNU+Hurd?

Some of the problems listed on
https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html#Debian seem to apply to all
Debian OSes.

> some are more limited than others [...]

The guidelines require free distros to be "complete in themselves and ready
to use. If a distribution is incomplete — if it requires further
development, or presupposes installing other software as well — then it is
not listed here, even if it is free software.". There's an exception to the
self-hosting requirement for "small system distributions" as well.

ADFENO
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Joined: 12/31/2012

* FreeDOS

I don't know much about the status as free/libre. Keep in mind that it's
the FreeDOS project that has to seek inclusion in the lists of
free/libre system distributions. You can influence this by telling the
FreeDOS project to consider this and to look for
[[https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html#NewDistro]].

However, I searched for the list archives of the workgroup for
free/libre system distributions, and found this issue, which, at the
time of writting, affected --- and I assume that still affects ---
FreeDOS:
[[https://lists.nongnu.org/archive/html/gnu-linux-libre/2010-12/msg00048.html]].

* Debian

See [[http://www.fsfla.org/pipermail/discusion/2017/006002.html]] and
also [[https://www.gnu.org/distros/optionally-free-not-enough.html]].

* LibertyBSD

The last communication
([[https://lists.nongnu.org/archive/html/gnu-linux-libre/2016-07/msg00020.html]])
was in 2016-07-24, but I'm not sure how far it is now. However, since I
don't represent the workgroup itself, then it would be best to ask both
LibertyBSD and the workgroup to know what is the status.

* Freedombox (bonus)

See
[[http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/freedombox-discuss/2017-April/007991.html]]. I
don't know of any contact made by them so far.

--
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JohnScott623
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Joined: 07/03/2017

Yes, FreeDOS and Debian are optionally-free, and, in the latter case, the kernel you use doesn't make a difference (since Debian ships with Linux-libre anyway); Debian GNU/Hurd is not on the list for the same reason as Debian GNU/Linux.

LibertyBSD's website says that they're still under review, but as other commenters have said, their progress seems to have stalled, which is a shame (it would be nice if the FSF could endorse a BSD OS).

Jodiendo
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Joined: 01/09/2013

There is a big difference between freedos, and debian.

FreeDOS is a complete, free, DOS-compatible operating system that you can use to play classic DOS games, run legacy business software, or develop embedded systems. Any program that works on MS-DOS should also run on FreeDOS.

It doesn’t cost anything to download and use FreeDOS. You can also share FreeDOS for others to enjoy! And you can view and edit our source code, because all FreeDOS programs are distributed under the GNU General Public License or a similar open source software license.

Is FreeDOS really free?

Yes, FreeDOS is really free. It doesn’t cost anything to download and use FreeDOS. You can also share FreeDOS for others to enjoy! And you can view and edit our source code, because all FreeDOS programs are distributed under the GNU General Public License or a similar Open source software license.
What programs can I run in FreeDOS?

FreeDOS is a complete, free, DOS-compatible operating system. While we provide some utilities, you should be able to run any program intended for MS-DOS. Pretty much any program that works on MS-DOS will work on FreeDOS. You can also use FreeDOS on a network! However, you may experience problems running Windows on FreeDOS. For example, Windows standard-mode works on FreeDOS, but ‘386-mode Windows for Workgroups 3.11 does not.

We find most people use FreeDOS to do these things:

1. Play classic DOS games. You can play your favorite DOS games on FreeDOS. And there are a lot of great classic games to play: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Commander Keen, Rise of the Triad, Jill of the Jungle, Duke Nukem, and many others!

2. Run legacy software. Need to recover data from an old business program? Or maybe you need to run a report from your old finance system? Just install your legacy software under FreeDOS, and you’ll be good to go!

3. Develop embedded systems. Many embedded systems run on DOS, although modern systems may instead run on Linux. If you support an older embedded system, you might be running DOS. And FreeDOS can fit in very well.

Many people also use FreeDOS to install firmware updates on their computers.

It does not have do with Gnu-linux, matter fact. It is a replacement for MS-DOS, EVERYTHING STARTED WHEN EVERYTHING WAS DOS.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Joined: 06/09/2014

You mention this a few times in your post:

name at domain wrote:
> Any program that works on MS-DOS should also run on FreeDOS.

and

> FreeDOS is a complete, free, DOS-compatible operating system. While we
> provide some utilities, you should be able to run any program intended for
> MS-DOS.

and

> It does not have do with Gnu-linux, matter fact. It is a replacement fo
> MS-DOS [...]

You seem to maintain that compatibility with Microsoft's DOS is an
advantage because FreeDOS allows users to run non-free software (you cited
firmware installers as one such program). But you should read the FSF's
language on ReactOS at
https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html#ReactOS which is short so
I'll quote it in full here:

> ReactOS is meant as a free binary compatible replacement for Windows.
> Use with proprietary software and drivers meant for Windows is one of
> the stated goals of the project.

I believe the FSF points this out because from the perspective of software
freedom, it is bad to encourage people to run non-free software except for
writing a free replacement of the non-free software. Running non-free
software means continuing dependency on non-freedom and that non-free
software treats its users unjustly. FreeDOS thus becomes a free means by
which users can continue being treated unjustly.

Given what you wrote the same would seem to be true of FreeDOS. If it's a
stated goal of the FreeDOS project to encourage the user to use proprietary
software instead of using FreeDOS to help provide a free software
replacement, this could be another reason why FreeDOS would not receive the
FSF's endorsement as a recommended free distro despite FreeDOS being
licensed to run, share, and modify.

> And you can view and edit our source code, because all FreeDOS programs
> are distributed under the GNU General Public License or a similar open
> source software license.

You'd also be better off (particularly here, a mailing list for a GNU/Linux
distro that celebrates its connection to promoting software freedom)
understanding that the author of the GNU GPL (Richard Stallman) has nothing
to do with "open source" and that license's only connection to open source
is that it happens to meet the qualifications that group set up. The social
movement Stallman started -- the Free Software movement -- predates the
Open Source developmental philosophy identified by the Open Source
Initiative by over a decade, and the GNU GPL encourages something the open
source group eschew: software freedom. In fact Stallman goes around the
world giving talks explaining that the open source group is a right-wing
reactionary group opposed to software freedom (the very principle he
advocates for). You can find recordings of these talks in formats that
favor free software at https://audio-video.gnu.org/. It's also a good idea
to be specific instead of pointing to 'similar' licenses.

ADFENO
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Joined: 12/31/2012

*Personally*, I would also rephrase the following:

#+BEGIN_QUOTE

[...] The social movement Stallman started -- the Free Software movement
-- predates the Open Source developmental philosophy identified by the
Open Source Initiative by over a decade, and the GNU GPL encourages
something the open source group eschew: software freedom [...]

#+END_QUOTE

And change it like so:

#+BEGIN_QUOTE

[...] The social movement Stallman started -- the Free Software movement
-- predates the Open Source developmental method identified by the Open
Source Initiative by over a decade, and the GNU GPL encourages something
the open source group eschew: the essential freedoms of the software,
which is prerequisite for software freedom for the entire society [...]

#+END_QUOTE

At least for me, this naming change from "software freedom" to "freedom
of the software" is important so that people understand that it's not a
matter of "being free/libre to use any software or license one wishes
to", but a matter of the software having said freedoms, so that the
latter matter can be achieved.

Also, I don't want to discredit your arguments, because I agree entirely
with your arguments, but just for the fun of it: I have changed "Open
Source developmental philosophy" to "Open Source developmental method"
because I don't believe that open source is a philosophy, because it
doesn't question what is moral and ethical or not, contrary to what the
free/libre software movement does, see
[[https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/google-engineering-talk.html]] and
[[https://www.gnu.org/gnu/thegnuproject.html]]. Besides, the open source
development method itself choose not to question these matters right
from the start when they decided to change their approach towards the
general public, see [[https://www.gnu.org/gnu/thegnuproject.html]] and
[[https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html]].

vita_cell
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Joined: 07/19/2015

Maybe the quick answer is, because GNU+Linux is much more stable, complete, useful, functional...than any other free software OS.

calher

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Joined: 06/19/2015

FreeDOS is not listed because it cannot be compiled with free software.

Jodiendo
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Joined: 01/09/2013

Free dos it is listed in particular as free but not related with GNU-linux. If you ever study Basic language or c in your life time then you will see the difference.

I have installed freedos on windows 7 and it works nicely. But in my own experience is designed for older processors. YET, YOU COULD FORMAT ANY MODERN HARD DRIVE AND CPU THAT designed supposedly for modern era, 1-5, -i-3 dual core etc, 1150 socket and 1155 socket board INSTALLED FREE DOS AND IT STILL DOES THE JOB with OUT WINDOWS OS, just running free-dos. The challenge is learning how to question under the command prompt or interrogate the freedos program, or particular software. There is a ton of it available, reliable and effective.

It is compatible with Solaris programs, freedos is very printer friendly, 100 percent better the trisquel, when it comes to printer drivers, sharing and friendliness.

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

How is it an answer to "FreeDOS is not listed because it cannot be compiled with free software"? I believe we are talking about this list: https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-non-gnu-distros.html

Jodiendo
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Joined: 01/09/2013

I really going to speak on my experience, Most of the freedos programs I have installed are gpl license. Yet when compiling freedos is different from ms-dos, in other aspects freedos is different than ms-dos. You will not see it until you have try it. remember it is not a linuz-gnu program.

FreeDOS Spec further reading:
http://wiki.freedos.org/wiki/index.php/FreeDOS_Spec

Copyright

Any effort that goes into writing a FreeDOS would, of course, be redistributed in both binary and source code form. Therefore, we urge programmers to release their software under a distribution agreement, such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), which says in part from its Preamble:

The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software—to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
Distribution

Anyone may create and sell distributions of a GPL'd operating system (such as FreeDOS) so long as there is a distinction made as to what the customer is actually buying. That is, it must be made clear that the distributor is not claiming that they own or wrote the GPL program, and that they don't reserve any rights to the GPL program.

The GNU GPL says:

To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid
anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights.
These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you
distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether
gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that
you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the
source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their
rights.

Additionally, the distributor must understand that any changes they make to the GPL program must be identifed and must be released under the GNU GPL. For example, if someone adds FAT32 support into the FreeDOS kernel, then the patched kernel falls under GPL and must be freely available. However, if they add FAT32 support as a .SYS file and simply bundles the .SYS file with the FreeDOS kernel, then they may place whatever restrictions they like only on the .SYS file.

The idea is to protect the free software and their authors. No one else should be able to take their code and misrepresent it, or worse, illegally or unethically profiting from it.

Additionally, they can sell their own proprietary (i.e. closed-source) app, bundled with FreeDOS, and charge for their distributed work as long as their work does not make any changes to the GPL code we wrote and maintain. They must follow the GPL and give us credit for our work, offer the GPL'd source with their distribution or extend an offer to supply the source for a reasonable cost.

Persons interested in distributing copies of FreeDOS should download a copy of the GNU GPL and see how it applies to your specific situation. Read it carefully and have it reviewed by a lawyer, just as you would any other license you would consider for software redistribution; the GNU GPL is a legal document.

filozof
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Joined: 12/11/2015

Free GNU/Linux distributions are here (https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html). BLAG, Dragora, Dynebolic, gNewSense, Guix SD, Musix, Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, Trisquel and Ututo. The list also includes small distributions: libreCMC and ProteanOS.