Getting debian fsf approved

15 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/08/2014

On a trisquel post, there is some writing about trisquel being not updated likely because of lack of resources. I think trisquel is to small and to little and therefore a non effective system. I could ask fsf the following question. I do not because I do not want to bother them, if you can answer.
From posts about eoma68, I get the impression that fsf's threshold for approval is, that no user gets non free software without knowing it and the user must himself get non free software on the computer if non free software is, what he wants, correct? What is it about installing debian 8 that it cannot get fsf approval? On a computer, until I got a free software wifi card, during installation it would ask for files to get lan cable ethernet and wifi to work. Likely that would be non free software files. Is that the problem? If a warning would display saying, that non free software may be required in order to get cable ethernet or wifi to work during installation, then debian could get fsf approval? Or there was an alternate debian iso, that would not accept non free cable ethernet or wifi card during installation, then it could get fsf approval? That would be a more effective track to get a fsf approved gnulinux distribution.
After getting a free software wifi card, it still asks for a file to get cable ethernet to work. If I select wifi, wifi will work and I get a free software computer. If I then want to get non free software, I have to edit the sources list or install software-properties-gtk and mark non free sources. That does not happen without me noticing it.

Joined: 12/31/2012

I couldn't understand your question very well, but I know its subject to
some extent.

I'm *not* a member of the group responsible for evaluating system
distributions, but I can try to answer this question to some extent,
based on what I *currently* know (I might be wrong, please contact the
people responsible before considering this as truth).

As far as I can understand, Debian is not approved as free/libre system
distribution because it recommends non-[free/libre] functional data, or
repositories that *don't have the goal **and** accomplishment* of
including only free/libre functional data. There are other freedom
issues that I forgot, but gNewSense is a free/libre system distribution
that's based on Debian.

Joined: 09/13/2010

"Is that the problem?"
That would be one.

More generally:

Your question of the installer is even mentioned there. "However, the problem partly remains: the installer in some cases recommends these nonfree firmware files for the peripherals on the machine."

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

name at domain wrote:
> What is it about installing debian 8 that it cannot get fsf approval?

I also direct your attention to:

which are DebConf talks from 2015 and 2016. The 2015 talk contains an
explanation why Debian is not an FSF-approved distro.

By 2016 Debian was still not an FSF-approved distro. Unfortunately audio in
the 2016 talk is missing for the first 19m44s. According to
""Free Software Foundation Members talk about the FSF and Debian": audio is
missing for the first 15 minutes because of mixer issues.". But this might
not affect understanding the issue relevant to this thread because in the
2016 talk, there's an on-screen section called "FSF endorsement" which says:

----------begin quote----------
## FSF endorsement
* Nonfree / contrib too close, too much confusion
* GFDL invariant sections problem (what would effect be if FSF/GNU
* Make nonfree a nonissue by working together upstream
* popcon data for nonfree?
* apt prompts?
* A name to reflect Debian's unique position?
* Commitment from FSF to celebrate steps (like with squeeze)
* How to harden Debian against nonfree once users make a choice
-----------end quote-----------

This text appears to be edited in real-time by multiple people
simultaneously as the talk goes on. Discussion of this section starts at

Joined: 09/08/2014

Good links. They have debated debian. Asking for non free free software during installation does not work. It seems fsf does not think it is difficult enough to get non free software into debian 8 after installation. That you have to select non free software should be fitting in order to be fsf compliant.

Joined: 09/08/2014

I wrote fsf. They did not elaborate about It appears that fsf thinks debian's website is a blend of free and nonfree software which hinders fsf approval.
That debian during installation may ask for nonfree software is of cource not acceptable.
>repository is hosted on many of the project's main servers
Can a system not get fsf approval if windows 10 is hosted on the same servers if the nonfree software is under another url?
The installation problem should get solved. Either debian or fsf should make a debian 8 with another name, no links to nonfree software.

Joined: 08/11/2014

Non-free software cannot be *easy* to install.
AKA: If an unaware and non-technical user can clickity-click a button or two to accidentally install non-free software, it is too easy to install it for the FSDG.

Joined: 08/11/2014

Non-free software cannot be *easy* to install.
AKA: If an unaware and non-technical user can clickity-click a button or two to accidentally install non-free software, it is too easy to install it for the FSDG.

Joined: 08/11/2014

Non-free software cannot be *easy* to install.
AKA: If an unaware and non-technical user can clickity-click a button or two to accidentally install non-free software, it is too easy to install it for the FSDG.

EDIT: The heck? Triple post.


I am a translator!

Joined: 10/31/2014

triple! we haz winner!


I am a member!

Joined: 09/19/2011

I've known the Debian netinstall for 7 and 8 to ask if I have a flashdrive containing the firmware for my Intel wifi. The Debian site offers links to unofficial net install images whose names contain "-firmware", though you have to hunt for them. As long as these prompts for the firmware in the net installer and directories containing the unofficial firmware images are offered, I suppose FSF can't endorse Debian.

Joined: 09/08/2014

They should make On the website you should then download an iso made of debian 8. It will not ask for files for wifi and ethernet. Librian will have no links or information about non free software. That would be fsf approvable? Fsf wrote, that it is not important for them that it is difficult to install non free software on a free software system.

davidnotcoulthard (not verified)

Based on what seems to be the case, here's how I see it:

Debian strives to be rather free, but due to a few reasons is not FSF-approved
Debian seems perfectly cool with that, and in fact there are multiple projects where the two collaborate well,
The Free Software community (over here in the English Trisquel forums anyway) seems OTOH to be cool with those who install Debian but avoid the non-free things

And then we have people unaffiliated with Debian and the FSF debating whether Debian should be counted as fully free :)

Joined: 12/31/2012

As long as these people who happen to install Debian don't do such
installation/recommendation/selling/sharing/whatever for other people to
make use of, we can think of it as "acceptable for the time being".

I tend to say that I, **personally**, **could** make use of a non-free
software (be it a game, a website's JavaScript, a game running on an
emulator, a firmware, a system distribution, whatever); but sharing,
selling, installing, or teaching people non-free software means that I'm
putting people on a complicated spot. I assume that everyone reading
this has also read the transcripts available at which talk about
the moral dilemmas related to this choice of "using it personally".

In practice, I avoid using non-free software at all, I no longer use
emulators to play the old non-free games anymore (instead, in my
GoblonRefuge account, I'm doing a video series about free/libre games),
and as a free software activist, I know that I must replace the non-free
software that I'm using overtime, or make pressure against the copyright
holders/owners/proprietors to change their mindset and acts.

The only things that I have to use that are non-free are kept either due
to unintentional limitations on the hardware or due to absence of a
replacement software (or another way around it).

One of the biggest challenges for me is keeping up with college demands
when this involves using the non-free JavaScript of their online student
information system. I'm currently having to leave home two hours earlier
in order to be allowed to use the college's computer lab and access
their student information system (because I can't do this on my own
computer). I'm trying to reunite the free/libre software activists from
Brazil that are lost across various mailing lists that are inactive or
have nothing to do with free/libre software, and I hope to make pressure
on Unimestre (the copyright holder of the non-free JavaScript of the
student information system of the same name).

Joined: 12/21/2015

For debian, there´s should be a package like your-freedom from Parabola but installable from an external repo or simply a downloadable .deb file.

Joined: 12/10/2013

Why are cowsay and sqlite*-doc blacklisted?