Hello world

65 risposte [Ultimo contenuto]
Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Hello friends,

I've recently been aware of Trisquel from GNU free distributions list. Thumbs up for your high aim and efforts. I've not yet tried Trisquel (waiting for Flidas) but been reading around here in this forum and elsewhere.

I'd like to contribute a few suggestions (maybe some controversial ones too) re pushing Trisquel to masses, but I guess that can be deferred till at least I try Flidas out and get a bit more fluent in its intricacies.

The things in my mind at the moment revolves mainly around these topics:
1. Upstream distro selection (Ubuntu vs Debian)
2. Personality decisions (presentation vs infrastructure focus)
3. Some DFSG compatibility discussions (can be controversial)
And maybe some other topics as they occur.

Currently just peeking around and waiting for Flidas to roll out. So far so good. :)

Kudos to everyone involved.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Anticipating that Flidas may not be available for some time, let me expand a bit more on preliminaries. In future I intend to start a separate thread on each one of them.

1. I believe that Trisquel should follow Debian, instead of Ubuntu. Reasons being;
* Debian is the kitchen and Ubuntu is a restaurant. Following the kitchen is always a step ahead of following its followers.
* Debian has 5 years of support too. ( https://wiki.debian.org/LTS )
* Following Debian means having both a LTS (stable) and a temporary rolling (testing) distro concurrently, which solves the problem of lagging behind.
* Debian is more dedicated to free software than Canonical, which can reduce DFSG compliance burden.
* Rolling out a LTS release is simple and streamlined. (as in Debian, just freeze the rolling-testing)

2. I believe that a compromise between "being unique" and "being complete" should be tipped -heavily- in favor of completeness. That is, less work should go into things like "what apps should be installed by default?" and more work should focus on things like "what workaround should be applied for DFSG incompatible hardware, media formats, communications protocols etc." Because application level functionality more or less is already there, while compatibility issues are the main challenge that confronts any DFSG compliant distro.

3. [Controversial] I believe that FSF should be pressured to fine tune their compliance terms. Currently there are just two options: ideal and unacceptable - black and white. Acceptable means ideal. This makes managing a distro acceptable to both DSFG _and_ the masses an enormous and unyielding task. I believe DFSG should expand on "ideal", "acceptable" (with minor compromises), and "unacceptable" system definitions. There are certain minor controversies over the "ideal" case, which, if acknowledged by FSF as "gray but acceptable" cases, would lift a heavy burden off distro maintainers' shoulders. I mean, like firmware blobs (not driver, just firmware), proprietary software referrals or providing viaducts (not obligations or inclusions), and the like. As far as I understand, they're all debatable gray areas and don't really derail or spoil the free software guidelines.

I can't see how FSF could be coaxed into buying it, so this is rather a speculative subject and could be postponed for the time being. I've presented it here for completeness only. So much for controversies. :)

As I've said, in the future I'll try to expand on each one of them separately in dedicated threads.

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

Offline
Iscritto: 10/31/2014

>I believe that Trisquel should follow Debian, instead of Ubuntu.

I haven't read the rest for I am very lazy right now (will read more tomorrow), but..
... my man! welcome! :D

HuangLao
Offline
Iscritto: 01/19/2014

Trisquel is what it is and its a distro for those who value the ethics of libre software and more current software, neither too old or too bleeding edge. gNewSense and Parabola fit the other ends of the spectrum.

Sorry, but it will most likely never be a distro for the masses. Its more of an underground "revolution", like computing was back in the day.

Your list of concerns/suggestions are curious, however, given that you are "trying" the distro. I'm usually suspect of intentions to change when something or someone is new.

There is no grey area for Libre v. proprietary software, it is either one or the other. No such thing as partially free. Is a slave partially free if the shackles are on his feet but not hands, or if he can walk the yard but not leave the property?

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Hi Huang, I fully understand your reserved approach, as I would have taken it the same way had I been an established user.

However, all my FSDG concerns can be simply rolled into this: FSF to create a new layer to FSDG so that it acknowledges Debian/main repo as "passable" even if not "ideal". Turn FSDG into a three way function: ideal, passable, unacceptable. That's all I suggest. Debian/main is hardly a breach to free software philosophy, I presume?

So it comes to dissecting the so called "frays" in Debian/main from the current FSDG. Firmware kernel blobs, recommendations or referrals to external non-free components in docs, maybe providing a viaduct or pathway to external non-free apps/addons, et cetera. I do acknowledge that these provisions make the OS evil-tolerating, but do these make the OS itself non-free?

I have already explained the situation with firmware blobs. If we are to accept that uploading a proprietary firmware to onboard RAM on hardware is equivalent to cooperating with non-free hardware (and interpret it as non-free OS), then what stops us from declaring the same for initializing, communicating or handshaking with it? Isn't firmware upload is more or less equivalent to hardware initialization? For instance can't we think of the firmware uploading as sort of an initialization signaling sequence? :)

Almost similar arguments go for external referrals, recommendations, viaducts, etc. They are all non-free-cooperative, alright I accept that. But this is hardly a reason to gain "unacceptable" status for the OS itself. This approach resulted in Debian/main flagged as unacceptable. Please, this is beyond comprehension.

I respect your and other's approach, but this is my own approach. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts. I gather that all my other suggestions are small-time, compared to this FSDG one. :)

Not that I expect FSF buying into this anytime soon, but that doesn't stop curious souls from thinking aloud.

HuangLao
Offline
Iscritto: 01/19/2014

You are making a very easy distinction complex. Debian in its current form is not libre. It is Debian that would need to make changes to meet that standard, stop hosting non-free and contrib, remove recommendations and instructions on how to enable them, etc... You are advocating for FSF to change, however, in order for libre software that respects the freedoms of the user it is software that needs to change in order for FSF designation. You see the standards are there to protect you the user, not the developer or the company etc...

If you disagree with FSF then use any distro you like....perhaps you are an advocate of opensource and not Libre, there is a clear difference between the two and opensource does not equate libre.

I revert back to my original thoughts in my first reply.

Allanitomwesh
Offline
Iscritto: 10/24/2015

FSF won't and shouldn't ever compromise. Compromising for 'completeness' can be found in any given distro. In fact it is why Debian isn't FSDG. So yeah, don't hold your breath

ADFENO
Offline
Iscritto: 12/31/2012

You're probably refering to GNU FSDG, instead of Debian's DFSG.

Majin Buu
Offline
Iscritto: 11/05/2016

Hello, and welcome to the forum! :)

1.If you want a FSF-endorsed GNU/Linux distro based on Debian, you can see for gNewSense: gnewsense.org
Ubuntu LTS also has 5 years of support.
The Trisquel main goal isn't be steps ahead in technology. Instead, is to provide a fully free operating system easy to install and use.

2.I am agree with you, there are other things to do: https://listas.trisquel.info/pipermail/trisquel-devel/2016-November/001024.html

3.This is 50% true. Now, the FSF support Coreboot, a free BIOS but it contains binary blobs. The goal is to make devices compatible with Coreboot without these blobs. There's a project that provides a 100% free BIOS: libreboot.org

Also, you can use Debian with only "main" enabled. in h-node.org you can see you can use Debian for testing hardware.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Thank you Majin :) also thanks for gNewSense pointer. I'll be looking at there too.

As for Debian vs. Ubuntu, I didn't mean to favor being leading edge over stability or freeness, just wanted to point out that there is a possibility of being both LTS and rolling distro at the same time. I'll revisit this in its own thread sometime, and hopefully make a better case of it than the short preliminary intro.

The link you've given re (2) goes along with my toughts about the burden of being "unique" and being DFSG bound. BTW I didn't know FSF supported a blobby BIOS. I hope they would extend this exception to the kernel. I'm all against proprietary hardware, but hardware is hardware, and firmware blobs are in hardware domain. To condemn an OS for something that is out its domain (for uploading the firmware) seems to me as stretching the definiton of "free software" a bit too far.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Offline
Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Firmware is 100% software. And proprietary software is unacceptable. It is not a gray area. It does "really derail or spoil the free software guidelines". For those who consider proprietary firmware is OK, several popular distributions are an option, e.g., Debian (optional nonfree software, including nonfree firmware) or Fedora (nonfree firmware by default, no other nonfree software in the default repository). Trisquel must stay free.

Following the Debian "kitchen" would mean being based on Debian testing, which is rolling-release. It would be far more work for the Trisquel project. Especially if stable and old-stable (LTS) are to be followed as well. Ubuntu is based on Debian testing (hence newer software than Debian stable). It adds up to it and I do not think it adds freedom issues, except for the kernel (but the deblobbing script already exists). Trisquel used to be based on Debian. The rationale for choosing Ubuntu as a base has been that it has many more users than Trisquel. Users who apparently consider that Ubuntu's additions to the Debian packages are valuable. And, as Majin Buu points out, gNewSense is based on Debian.

Trisquel mainly takes Ubuntu's packages, solve GNU FSDG (not DFSG: the GNU FDL is OK for instance) issues with them, defines a default system (a selection of packages) and a look (themes and so on). The "workarounds" to have hardware supported with free software must happen upstream (in the Linux and Linux-libre projects). As for "media codecs" and "communication protocols", I do not understand the problems you are referring to. By default, Trisquel supports all common multimedia formats (more than many common distributions). Maybe you are referring to communication protocols such as Skype but having free software supporting such a protocol (if even feasible: Microsoft wants *their* client to abuse users) would be much work to be achieved upstream.

jxself
Offline
Iscritto: 09/13/2010

"I didn't know FSF supported a blobby BIOS"

They don't. It's actually libreboot, which is coreboot minus the blobs.

"firmware blobs are in hardware domain"

See https://jxself.org/free-firmware.shtml

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Hi Magic, I should say upfront that I'm not criticizing Trisquel, nor am I trying to derail it. I just liked the idea and am trying to find some ways for mass adoption. That's all. I'm aware of the question of producing a free OS with best user experience with as low workload on developers as possible and with the limited resources at hand. This is a three-legged scale. We can't have it all and *this* is a reason for compromise - at least pour some thoughts on it. That's what I've been trying to do.

My original intent was separating FSDG requirements, distro personalization, and Debian vs. Ubuntu. But the issues are so intertwined that I don't know how to discuss them separately. OTOH rolling all into one thread might cause spreading it too thin, which might also be counterproductive.

You are right in stating that following a rolling release (Debian testing) would have required far more work than following a LTS one - with the presumption that most packages would be scrutinized for strict FSDG compliance, and there were some changes regarding personality (uniqueness) of Trisquel. But imagine that there were no FSDG compliance work needed for most of the packages, and that Trisquel had just a minimal personality - i.e. heavily depended on whatever desktop environment has to offer off the shelf. I'm oversimplifying the case for the sake of clarity.

Debian/main repository is kind of approved by FSF, if I'm not mistaken? If Trisquel taps on Debian testing/main repository (free riding on original Debian repositories) and add selected few apps from contrib and non-free, liberate them, and include them into a private Trisquel repository, then dev work would only be needed for those liberated apps. There would be literally no work needed to maintain the "main". Then following Debian testing could become much easier. Of course, on the condition that FSDG allows using Debian main repo untouched. Am I missing something here?

These are my main reasons for suggesting an "unpersonalized" distro and a bit loosened FSDG rules.

As per the firmware, well of course firmware is software. But to be inside OS domain, a software should be run by the OS. Software run on the hardware still belongs to hardware domain. A modem card has onboard ROM and runs firmware onboard. So a proprietary modem card locally running a non-free firmware off of onboard ROM, doesn't violate FSDG restrictions for free OS. Then how can it be named violation when a cousin of this modem card runs the same firmware locally off of onboard RAM? The only difference is that, in the previous case ROM based firmware is always there, and in the second case it's been uploaded (just upload, not run) by the OS into the modem cards RAM. This is why I called firmware blobs as gray area.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Offline
Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Software not respecting the essential freedoms of the users is evil, whatever the processor executing it. Trisquel should not distribute it. Trisquel cannot do anything for the firmware already in the hardware. If it is not free software, it is evil as well.

And, no, using packages from the Debian main repository would not be easier: there are the same recommendations for proprietary software, the Mozilla add-on site, etc. Like I wrote: "I do not think [Ubuntu] adds much freedom issues, except for the kernel (but the deblobbing script already exists)".

hack and hack
Offline
Iscritto: 04/02/2015

Liberating software is no trivial task.

As for loosened rules, non-free is non-free, there's no way around it.
It's up to the user to decide if compromise is an option, and to which extent/in which conditions. I personally will stay with free software.

Mass adoption can't be achieved when the point is to loosen rules that represent the core reason of why free software exists.

Plus basing it on Debian (which is free software minus the repo and a few recommendation for non-free software) wouldn't make Trisquel more popular and wouldn't change much regarding mass adoption. I mean even Debian with the non-free parts isn't massively adopted on desktops/laptops. Gnu/Linux as a whole is like 2% of the total computer users if I remember correctly.

Mass adoption requires (IMO):
- solid software (very little bugs for the average user)
- solid hardware compatibility (even Debian withe the non-free drivers isn't that popular)
- The last component is knowledge about free-software, and privacy issues, which to me was the most important motivator. I think people talk about privacy a whole lot more, but I doubt behaviors really changed.
- ease of adoption/use.

The two last points are still lacking in my opinion.
Understanding how better privacy works with a one page article would be IMO great. That means people understand, and can use the computer right away, nothing to tweak, and they can dig further if they want.
Ideally, tor should be installed by default, the normal browser should have a verly limited set of plugins pre-configured, etc.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

In my first three posts I've erroneously used DFSG (Debian Free Software Guidelines - by Debian) where I actually meant FSDG (GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines - by FSF). Please read them all as FSDG. Sorry for the confusion.

albertoefg
Offline
Iscritto: 04/21/2016

1.- Debian is already free software by Default.(Just use with caution do not add non free repository)

2.-I think you are talking about Trisquel development but I am not sure. I think a developer has all the right to work in a way that feels comfortable.

One of the great things about Free Software is that if you feel something is needed you can do it yourself (instead of asking someone else to do it) and send it to developers and share it with the community :)

3.- If the Free Software Foundation starts accepting non free software they would be hypocrites.

And also they understand really well that free software is about Ethics not about anything else.

Thats why they will never accept under any "practical" approach non free software

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Hi Alberto, +1 for all your points generally. Things tend to get more complicated depending on the details, though.

Soon.to.be.Free
Offline
Iscritto: 07/03/2016
  1. I can see your point about moving to Debian, and am largely inclined to agree with you. That said, there is already the free software distro gNewSense based on Debian, which I haven't tried, so I'm not sure it would be necessary to switch bases.
  2. I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but it seems like a fair point. The thing that I found most exciting about Trisquel on first trying it was how it had most of the software I needed. That said, I do think presentation is important too, in particular not shifting towards touch-oriented WMs (e.g. Gnome 3 default)
  3. Although I understand your point, I also feel as the risk in compromising is one that must be carefully assessed.

    As for firmware, the principle source of pain is not actually the fact that only free ones are installed by default, but a bug in Linux-Libre whereby the cleaning scripts strip the names of all blobs, making it impossible to install them. Fixing this would be beneficial. However, an OS installer adding proprietary firmware as it sees fit is not a good idea. For example, my current Fedora installation added firmware for my proprietary Wi-Fi card. This is what I need at present, but what if I had a libre USB Wi-Fi adapter? The system Debian employs is ideal, I think.

    With alternative repositories, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with what Debian does (as you state). However, I still don't believe they should be entirely in the clear because the default distribution ISN'T entirely free. Although everything included is libre-licensed, (I am reasonably certain) the documentation and information provided about the distro references non-free software without flagging it as such. This means it isn't entirely suitable for certification, as it doesn't have any system in place to ensure uninitiated users are aware of what they get themselves into when the add (say) the non-free repo to get Adobe Reader.

    As such, I think you have a valid point, but:

    1. A better system of classification, perhaps, would be "Acceptable for everyone", "Acceptable for freedom-savvy users", and "Unacceptable".
    2. Although it isn't quite what you're looking for, the document at https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html does effectively act as distinguishing the two classes you listed.
Magic Banana

I am a member!

Offline
Iscritto: 07/24/2010

GNOME 3 is not only "touch-oriented". GNOME 3 has improved on GNOME 2 when it comes to using it with a keyboard. The super key followed by a few letters and any application is launched, Alt+[key above Tab] switches between windows within an application (whereas Alt+Tab switches between applications), etc. See http://wiki.gnome.org/GnomeShell/CheatSheet for other useful keybindings.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Hi Soon,

I too haven't tried gNewSense yet, and I don't know its release policy. But whatever I say here in this forum should equally apply for them as well.

Let me go backwards from 3 to 1. :)

Such a FSDG compromise is one way, without turning back for corrections. So yes I agree, due care should be taken. I'm sure such a compromise -if ever made- would be evaluated from all angles diligently by FSF, so I'm counting on them about the technicalities.

As for FSDG classification / certification, I think we basically share the same point of view. I too don't believe in Debian's main repository getting full clearance ("Acceptable for everyone") from FSDG and also I'm not suggesting FSDG to be specifically adapted for Debian's needs, but certain compromises can be made by all parties involved, leading to a better cooperation community-wise (not just Debian). For instance, FSDG can make assessments based on repositories (as opposed to the whole distro) so that each distro can have layered assessments. E.g. Debian main (base system) gets "Acceptable for freedom-savvy" status, while other repositories (contrib and non-free) get "Unacceptable". Such layered assessments should be fairly easy for repository based distros. Also FSDG could ask for some prerequirements to be met, such as recommending free software *first* in a reference list if there are free viable alternatives for a given task. And Debian documentation adapts to that requirement. Things like that. The gist of it is if all parties can make even minor compromises and collaborate, then the whole community benefits from this.

Assuming Debian main repository gets the "Acceptable for freedom-savvy" clearance, a derivative distro like Trisquel depending on Debian's main repository, would automatically get the same status, and the rest would depend on private repositories of each derivative distro. If their other (private) repositories are like Debian's contrib/non-free then they get clearance only for the base system. Now this is where I expect Trisquel would thrive. Trisquel's private repository(ies) would be comprised of select applications picked from Debian's "Unacceptable" contrib and non-free repositories, which are then cleaned from non-free elements and served in a private "Acceptable" Trisquel repository (perhaps a couple of them, one being "for everyone" other being "for freedom-savvy"). So, while other distros can only get clearance for their base systems, Trisquel would get it for the whole distro. And the price to pay would be dramatically reduced due to most of the work (base system) is delegated to Debian - even physical repository serving to the world.

This would reduce the burden dramatically off the developers' shoulders. This, coupled with a "minimally personalized" distro strategy, should result in nearly all the work going into software/driver liberation efforts. This is what Trisquel is for, this the "reason d'etre" of Trisquel. So, concentrating all the resources on the core issues (which is sw/hw liberation) should eventually -theoretically?- bring the success and mass adoption.

It would be fantastic if there were so much resources that both liberation and personalization can be perfected at the same time. But we must accept the reality. My understanding is resources are tight and a lot of packages are in wait queue for liberation and/or maintenance. This is precisely why I advocate for an unpersonalized plain distro, but I need to cover that in another post as this is already getting huge.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Re, plain distro strategy.

A quick question. I got this whatever distro, customized it to my own taste and re-released it as Abdullah Linux 1.0 - actually what have I achieved? Not much really, just converted it from Ali's taste to Abdullah's taste. Both tastes turn out to be unpalatable to Soon, so he re-converts it to his own taste and so forth. No matter how many times it gets customized, it's always ripe for yet another customization. But the simple fact remains that, the original (Ali's) distro was already built to a sensible maturity, and all the recustomizations were redundant. My conclusion is, we can simply take what Debian default installation offers for whatever desktop environment selected and just be done with it.

Of course there will be exceptions like distro logo, distro name, maybe a wallpaper, minor changes to default apps list, docs pertaining the distro-specific changes... This is what a minimally personalized distro is, and it should be quite acceptable. From there on it's the user's taste and domain. BTW I think trying to dazzle the user with default apps selection art is somewhat a wasted effort and not a big deal really, as each user's taste is to himself and he can install whatever he likes. The apps list that excites you may disappoint me, and vice versa.

And changing as few packages as possible in the upstream distro has additional benefits (other than the saved time and energy gone into customization). Trisquel will be able to use Debian main repository to the full extent, save a few exceptions that contain distro logos etc. The whole burden of building, debugging, maintaining, rolling, even physical serving of the "main" repo, which presumably will constitute most of the distro, will be near zero. It's repercussions are self evident. More liberated hardware and software, less bugs, less resources drained. A good candidate for mass consumption. :)

PS: Not happy with defaults of a certain app? E.g. suppose in Debian Firefox comes with this -unwanted- feature enabled. Let it stay the way it is! The benefits of such changes are dwarfed against the long term costs of maintaining firefox separately in the private repo.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Re, Debian vs. Ubuntu. (I'll be partly reiterating myself)

1. Debian is the kitchen, Ubuntu is the restaurant. Ubuntu itself follows Debian. The original recipe cooks in the Debian kitchen and then Ubuntu serves it with a time lag. So, following the leader itself is always a step ahead than following the follower. Not that being a step ahead of Ubuntu is a big deal, but it's a bonus nevertheless.

2. Trisquel follows Ubuntu LTS which has 2 years release cycles and 5 years support. So is Debian: It's got 2 years stable release cycles, 3 years Debian inhouse team support + 2 years Debian LTS team support. So there's no disadvantage from support point of view. ( https://wiki.debian.org/LTS )

3. Ubuntu releases are rigid, whereas Debian is a blend of a both rigid and rolling distro. Debian stable releases are fixed and rigid, but testing (and unstable) releases are rolling. So, if Trisquel would follow Debian testing release in close lockstep (which also implies following stable release), then the outcome would've been a fixed release every 2 years (with 5 yrs of support) and a rolling testing release in between, which will get frozen after 2 years and thus become the next stable release. Best of both worlds.

4. Debian community is way more dedicated to philosophy of freedom than Canonical is. For instance take the spyware in Ubuntu Unity search feature.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ubuntu-spyware.html
Also see http://nathanheafner.com/home/2013/09/22/ubuntu-dash-search-is-not-anonymous/
Canonical builds business partnerships with non-free companies and while this is not a bad thing per-se from business perspective, this creates a slippery surface from free-software perspective. Long story short, following Ubuntu means more awareness needed, more scrutinizing hours spent, more possible hiccups, than following Debian. Debian (main repo) is a sure bet FOSS-wise. Following Ubuntu... I'd be keeping one eye open, just in case.

5. Since Debian stable is really just final freeze of the testing branch, to follow Debian/testing branch means that rolling out a release is as simple as freezing it. Whenever Debian freezes testing and releases it as the new stable, Trisquel just needs to do the same to roll out a new release. This in turn means both easy releases and least time to market (following the leader with minimal lag and with minimal effort).

So Trisquel becomes both long supported (5 years stable support) *and* cutting edge (rolling testing) *and* timely (just freeze to launch). What's more, most all free ride (tap on the native debian main repo).

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

So let me summarize.

Suppose for a moment that Trisquel is built in such a way that...
[EDIT: Also suppose that Debian/main is FSF cleared somehow]

* Trisquel follows Debian testing (therefore also stable) main repository in a tight lockstep. Since Debian's main repository is composed of -wishfully- FSF cleared packages, there's no need to create a separate trisquel/main for it. Trisquel just taps on the original Debian main repositories worldwide and gets a free ride. There are a few exceptions though, like Debian personalization packages, which can be modified for Trisquel and transferred to a private trisquel repository with a higher priority. Note that maintaining a rolling Trisquel version is easier than it might first sound, because only a limited number of liberated packages that are in private Trisquel repository needs to be maintained.

* Selected packages from Debian contrib and non-free repositories are liberated (almost all the Trisquel effort actually goes here) and served in a private trisquel repository with higher priority.

* Security updates are also handled the same way: Tap on the Debian security updates for "main" repository, and manage your own security updates separately for the -rather small- private repository.

* Absolutely nothing, not a single thing, is done for personalizing Trisquel, except distro logos, perhaps a wallpaper, basic documentetion of distro-specific peculiarities, and documentation pertaining to changes. So Trisquel comes with all the bells and whistles of whatever desktop manager happens to be installed, and nothing more. That should cover most all users' functionality needs - system-wise as well as application wise. For instance I may prefer KDE or Xfce over MATE. If Trisquel is to be personalized, then it should be personalized for *all* DE's, because if it's done only at MATE level, then all that personalization work would have been meaningless for anyone who uses another DE. On the other hand, if personalization is done for all the possible DE's to cover everyone, then this would be a big waste of time and effort. So the best bet is not personalize it at all - leave it to whatever Debain defaults to.

* By this logic, also installer is the very Debian Installer, untouched, except logo and distro name modifications and -optionally- default apps list.

Thus, all the energy saved from non-essential work can now be spent on excelling the free drivers, finding better substitutes for popular non-free apps, polishing them -if need be- to the same level as their closed source counterparts, developing a knowlegde/solution base for utilising unfriendly hardware and protocols, etc. That is, now all the energy can go into providing a libre OS with the best possible free alternative solutions to closed ones. This is a huge work already, so I think all the energy should be concentrated there.

Now we have a distro that is statically released biannually, covering the in-between time with a rolling testing release, with low release latency, with lowest possible extra work needed.

I don't claim that this is flawless or even well thought of strategy, but anyway it's a fresh approach to the main goal (of a libre and hopefully popular distro). The more tought poured on it, the better solutions will emerge.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Offline
Iscritto: 07/24/2010

I'll be partly reiterating myself too:

* Following Debian testing is a lot of work and Trisquel does not have the adequate work force. Same observation for biannual releases. Debian stable and Ubuntu LTS remain valid options for Trisquel's base. Trisquel has chosen Ubuntu LTS, i.e., it has chosen to be "closer to the kitchen" since Ubuntu is based on Debian unstable. Another 100% free GNU/Linux distribution, gNewSense, has chosen Debian stable.

* Most of the technical work achieved in the Trisquel project is writing package helpers (not theming). Basing Trisquel on Debian (rather than Ubuntu) would not ease the work because Ubuntu does not add freedom issues, except for the kernel (but the deblobbing script already exists). Try to list the package helpers in https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/package-helpers/tree/flidas/helpers that would become moot if the package was taken from Debian's repositories instead of Ubuntu's.

* Defaults matter a lot. Look around you: many users keep Windows' default wallpaper by fear of altering anything! In fact, the main reason why people use Windows is because it comes by default on their computers. Defaults even matter for highly technical users. For instance, one of the main critics to the OpenSSL library is its insecure default configuration: most of the applications using it were keeping that insecure default configuration. I guess most users of Trisquel keep its default desktop environment. It is hard to prove that point though: the less skilled users (for example my parents and my brother, who exclusively use Trisquel) do not actively participate in the community. Many (most?) users cannot choose their applications from a list, by lack of knowledge. They have no idea what difference it makes to choose MATE or GNOME or KDE or Xfce or... if they even know what a desktop environment is. And it is perfectly fine: users should be able to easily free themselves, without having to know the names of the different free software programs.

* https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html says that Debian's "installer in some cases recommends nonfree firmware files for the peripherals on the machine". It cannot be used "untouched", as you wrote.

* The Trisquel project has never dealt with "software/driver liberation efforts", "excelling the free drivers", "finding better substitutes for popular non-free apps", "polishing them", "developing a knowlegde/solution base for utilising unfriendly hardware and protocols", contrary to what you seem to believe. Almost no distribution does. Because that work had better be achieved upstream. Not at the level of the distribution. So that all distributions can profit from that work.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Thank you for reminding debian installer's FSDG status. I had forgotten to state that in the presumptions, added an edit note for that.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Offline
Iscritto: 07/24/2010

The forum is more conversation-oriented. If you keep on editing your posts, the conversation does not make much sense...

And, please, try to understand what is the technical work that the Trisquel project achieves. Large modifications to free software programs are done upstream, so that all the GNU/Linux distributions can profit from them. E.g., hardware is supported thanks to work achieved in the Linux project. The technical work on Trisquel 8 Flidas mainly is writing the package helpers that https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/package-helpers/tree/flidas/helpers lists. Those helpers slightly modify programs that were taken in the main and universe repositories of Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus. They (almost?) always themselves come from Debian main (not contrib or unfree): the package helpers solve issues that exist in Debian main as well.

We all agree that Debian is politically closer to Trisquel than Ubuntu. That just does not mean choosing Debian as a base is easier.

HuangLao
Offline
Iscritto: 01/19/2014

Abdullah, How many times do you plan to repeat yourself?

onpon4
Offline
Iscritto: 05/30/2012

I just want to point out that following Debian Testing would be largely pointless, and it's not what Ubuntu does. Testing freezes non-security updates at some point so that it can become Stable, then that release becomes stable and a new Testing release is made, so it's not a smooth rolling release. Ubuntu derives its releases from Sid, not Testing.

albertoefg
Offline
Iscritto: 04/21/2016

Both my friends Magic Banana and Onpon4 are pointing something really important here:

There technical details that you are not taking in consideration.

Now, I want to say something (keep in mind I am saying this in friendly manner :)

I think you have to learn more about Trisquel before criticize it.

From your first post you said "I haven't used Trisquel yet". And from your later posts I see that there are things still to learn.

Now is not that I am against criticism but that I think it should be a healthy critic. In other words, first know what we are criticizing in order for our comments to be helpful.

You said for example Trisquel should be based on Debian, but you didn't know that there is gNewSense or some other reasons, from my point of view it would had been more polite to ask "why Trisquel is based on Ubuntu and not in Debian?".

But even if there where (which i doubt) a lot of advantages on Trisquel being based on Debian, we have to keep in mind that Trisquel Developers have all the right to work the way they want, and if they like Ubuntu and want a completely liberated version of Ubuntu they have all the right to do so.

Same happens with the critics against Free Software Foundation and Debian, you said FSF should work with Debian, well this is 2 years old and from fsf.org

https://www.fsf.org/news/fsf-and-debian-join-forces-to-help-free-software-users-find-the-hardware-they-need

They already do what you criticized they were not doing.

Now I am telling you this because I think there is something really dangerous in start making claims before knowing the facts and that is that we start to believe those claims even if we are making them up.

(Don't get me wrong I have done this myself, recently I mistakenly said KeepassX is not multiplataform which my friend Onpon4 was really kind to point was wrong)

My main point is not for telling you that you are wrong or something like that, but to invite you to learn more and ask questions before, there would be a time for criticism my friend but I don't think it is right now.

(Remember i am saying this in the more friendly way possible :)

HuangLao
Offline
Iscritto: 01/19/2014

you nailed it. Thank You.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Hello Alberto, thank you for your friendly reminder.

From my point of view, however, I was not criticizing at all, nor was I asking for any change from anyone. I was just suggesting, brainstorming, rather trying to be helpful. Yes I am not a Trisquel user yet, and perhaps this gives me a somewhat disillusioned view, independent of technical intricacies of the current development. Sometimes an independent outsider's view can be just as valuable (perhaps not here). Anyway, I wish I didn't cause you to adopt a defensive stance.

Regarding the link you have given, that is good news. Also in the text FSF officially declares that Debian/main is libre. So, even if greater Debian is classified as non-free by FSDG, a libre distro built on top of Debian/main may still get included in FSF endorsed distributions list. Maybe gNewSense is already doing what I have suggested before - i.e. getting a free ride on Debian main repository. This I need to follow up on gNewSense, I think.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Offline
Iscritto: 07/24/2010

No. Please respect the community guidelines:
Do not insult others here. Disagree and challenge ideas instead.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Regarding "FSF should not compromise" opinion expressed by CalmStorm, hack and hack and others;

https://www.fsf.org/news/fsf-and-debian-join-forces-to-help-free-software-users-find-the-hardware-they-need

Upon this link (thanks to Alberto) I take my "loosened FSDG" suggestion back. Still, a layered, fine tuned approach of per-repository assessment (as opposed to per-distro) would be better in my opinion. Regardless, Debian/main seems to be officially declared as libre by FSF, as per the link above. At least this is what I inferred from the text. So, to my understanding, no compromise needed in order for a libre distribution to be able to tap on Debian's main repository, while keeping its FSF endorsement at the same time.

hack and hack
Offline
Iscritto: 04/02/2015

I definitely think Debian as a base would be potentially better, simply based on the fact that there's one less intermediary layer (whatever Ubuntu adds), which potentially means less things to fix.
But I'm more worried about the little bugs I encounter sometimes on Trisquel (I have yet to experience Debian extensively, so it's unfair to compare at this stage).

Still, a layered, fine tuned approach of per-repository assessment (as opposed to per-distro) would be better in my opinion.
What do you mean by that? From what I get, you take your "loosened FSDG" back, and then bring it up again. So I don't understand what you mean.
To me, it's either libre, or not. Period. It's binary. Most things in life aren't, but this definitely is, to me.
As soon as you close the code, there's potential for abuse. And several of these abuses were found out.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

With a layered approach, I mean the same FSDG rules applied separately per each repository. So, in Debian's case the outcome would be like this:

Debian/main = free
Debian/contrib = non-free
Debian/non-free = non-free

instead of Debian = non-free

The FSDG rules are the same, no compromise is ever made, just applied in a finer resolution for the sake of unambiguity. This is irrelevant regarding Debian/main's applicability to Trisquel, though. Either way, Trisquel can tap on Debian/main and still get endorsed by FSF (as I understand it).

hack and hack
Offline
Iscritto: 04/02/2015

Oh, but it's already considered that way regarding Debian.
It's just that for new or inexperienced users, it's possible to install non-free firmware by accident. Hence Debian as a whole being suggested to experienced users preferably.

But we're splitting hair here. Yes, in theory, Trisquel could be based on Debian main and still be free. I guess it could have the FSF's blessings too (even if I personally do not care about that. The only value it hasin my eyes is to help inexperienced users to figure out what is free without risks, and what is free but could not be if mistakes are made. But the latter applies to fully free Distros as well, it's just a matter of degrees).

But then, what's your point? If your question is whether Debian could be used as a base and be accepted by the FSF, obviously yes since GnewSense did it. Sure they cleaned written non-free recommendations, but as far as I know it's similar to Debian main's repo.
It is not Debian main's repo untouched, because of these non-free recommendations (as far as I know).

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

My point is, Debian/main can be used *without modification* by Trisquel (or gNewSense for that matter). The whole rationale behind a loosened FSDG idea was to be able to get a free ride on Debian/main in the first place.

BTW the fact that gNewSense is based on Debian doesn't guarantee that they are getting a free ride (i.e. using Debian/main without modification). They may as well be modifying most of the packages in main, just as Trisquel does for Ubuntu packages. We don't know. This is to be followed up on gNewSense circles.

hack and hack
Offline
Iscritto: 04/02/2015

OK, so loosened in this specific way, as in:
- letting non-free suggestion be (I guess this won't pass, but for users in the know, it's manageable. Until you want to install it for a newbie I suppose).
- What else?

Yeah, I see what you mean now.
But then what's the point of Trisquel if it's exactly like Debian? As far as I know, the non-free repos from Debian could be used in Trisquel (incompatibilities included as it is based on Ubuntu for now).
What would be Trisquel's "raison d'être"? If Debian flushes non-free suggestions at least, it could be simply take the place of Debian, but I might miss something.

I doubt GnewSense has a free ride, but I don't remember.
They definitely modify stuff, that much I know for sure (the modifications are listed on their website).

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

First of all, no loosening or compromise on FSDG seems to be needed as per the link I've referred to.

Secondly, regarding "What would be Trisquel's raison d'être?" it would be that Trisquel would become just like Debian (as you have pointed out) but with better free solutions. That is, Trisquel would be = Debian/main + a lot of free solutions that are not available in Debian domain.

I used the term "solution" because it has a broader meaning than "application", also encompassing drivers, firmware, documentation, knowledge base, etc.

It has been brought to attention that these should be handled by upstream so that all the downstream distros would benefit. While it's true, a contribution (e.g. liberation of some software) can also be made by a downstream entity (e.g. Trisquel) that gets rippled through upstream to the whole world. There's nothing keeping anyone from liberating an application and then contributing it to the whole free software community.

Some liberation modifications would be accepted by upstream (thus lifting the burden of re-modifying it for every release) while some would be rejected by upstream. So, upstream developers' attitude can be an important parameter as to which applications to be focused on to liberate.

In a nutshell, what I have been suggesting was, Trisquel being just like Debian/main, without personality, and allocating all thus saved resources into pure liberation work. Having a personalized distro hogs up a lot of resources that could have been used in areas that really matter (i.e. liberation of sw and hw). This is a considerably high level, strategic decision up to distro maintainers. Of course a ship can't be expected to change directions on the whims of a passer-by like me. So, what I've suggested was just an idea, a food for thought, my 2 kuruş on it.

hack and hack
Offline
Iscritto: 04/02/2015

I get your point, and I agree that having so many GNU/Linux distros is a waste of resources when most fail to function properly.

As for the idea that no compromise is needed because of the link you posted, I'll answer you with this one https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html (updated very recently while the link you posted is from several years ago) and this one https://www.gnu.org/distros/ .

Some disagreements do remain.

Some liberation modifications would be accepted by upstream (thus lifting the burden of re-modifying it for every release) while some would be rejected by upstream. So, upstream developers' attitude can be an important parameter as to which applications to be focused on to liberate.
If I get what you're saying (probably not), Trisquel would be an instance of Debian with another name. Might as well drop the name, no?

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

I have seen the pages you referred to. But that doesn't invalidate the older link Alberto has given. The difference is that, the pages you refer deal with distributions as a whole, whereas the older link deals specifically with the main repository of Debian. This is precisely why I wished for a layered approach by FSDG to solve these kind of ambiguities. FSF may still endorse or reject distributions as a whole (thus excluding Debian), but at the same time they can also be explicit about the individual repositories. They already acknowledged Debian/main as free, but there's no explicit, direct mention of it in related pages, which creates ambiguity.

As for "dropping the name", :) well let us say being a true Debian fork. Not personalizing Trisquel doesn't cause it to lose its personality, because its true personality lies in its liberty, not in its looks.

hack and hack
Offline
Iscritto: 04/02/2015

From the link you posted (from Alberto):
While the FSF does not include Debian on this list because the Debian project provides a repository of nonfree software, the FSF does acknowledge that Debian's main repository, which by default is the only place packages come from, is completely free.

"Unlike other common GNU/Linux distributions, installing official Debian by default means installing only free software. As long as Debian users do not add additional package repositories, their systems are a reliable source of fully free compatibility information. We're looking forward to working with Debian to help free software users get the hardware they need, and encourage the companies who provide it," said FSF's executive director John Sullivan.
It still reads (to me) as as a half acknowledging. But I know you mean that it's the part that counts. Well, assuming the non-free repos are the ONLY issue (and not the non-free recommendations here and there), then I see your point of not using Debian, but it's repo.
Yet it seems complicated to separate the repo from the distro, though I don't know, to be honest.

And the rest is about common work towards populating h-node.

So, yes, I find your idea is interesting. I just don't know how practical it is.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Oh, I think you meant something else by dropping the name.

If all the downstream modifications are accepted by upstream, then after a while, there would be no difference left between upstream and Trisquel packages. So Trisquel would be ditto Debian, and its mission would come to an end.

If you have meant this, then I could say there will always be some package ripe for liberation, so the race will never end. It wil only get more and more beautiful. Say, Trisquel has 100 packages in its liberated repository, 90 of them got embraced by upstream, so there are just 10 packages left for Trisquel to maintain. Then Trisquel can adopt 90 new non-free packages for liberation, submits them to upstream and so on. The more packages upstream embraces, the more new packages Trisquel adopts for liberation. This way, Trisquel's efforts would have cumulative effect on the whole free software community and it will be a never ending chase. So Trisquel would always keep its distinct personality.

hack and hack
Offline
Iscritto: 04/02/2015

Yes, that's what I meant ;)

The work of software liberation could as well be done for Debian (which is a better idea since it's already upstream).

In theory, using Debian's repo shouldn't change Trisquel's goals.
And yet, as long as the non-free repos exist, and as long as Debian makes non-free recommendations, Trisquel (gNewSense) is meaningful.

Frankly, I don't know, I don't understand all the consequences, but I like the idea of using Deb main because the plethora of weak distros is a waste of effort.

But again, I don't fully understand the consequences.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

Regarding whether the work of software liberation could as well be done in Debian, since it's already the upstream:

With upstream, I mean primarily the developer, secondarily Debian. There are things within Debian sphere, and those that are beyond it.

- Take IceCat for instance - it's not in Debian.
- Or another package where upstream (the developer) won't accept Trisquel modifications.
- Or another package where some non-free additions are introduced by Debian itself.
- Or another package where some Trisquel modifications are against some Debian policy.

In such cases the freed package will not be in Debian/main, which means it will have to be kept and maintained separately in Trisquel private repository.

Working with Debian as the upstream may be more convenient where it is possible. In other cases independent action may be necessary. So, a workgroup dedicated to libre OS is better off as an independent distribution, I think.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Offline
Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Again: Trisquel does not (and never will) "adopt non-free packages for liberation". See Trisquel 8's package helpers (please click on the link I give you the third time): https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/package-helpers/tree/flidas/helpers

Even IceCat, which is maintained by Trisquel's leader:

  • relates to a package ("firefox-esr") in Debian's main repository;
  • is developed upstream (so that anyone can easily profit from the work), in the GNU project: https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/

The same holds for the Linux-libre project.

I believe Debian's developers are invited to reuse Trisquel's package helpers but choose not to.

Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Offline
Iscritto: 12/15/2016

I had clicked on the link at your first post. :)

You are right in giving the link (and the implications thereof), but I believe I am also right in ignoring it.

The thing is, my approach is radically different. I am more interested in how to achieve the best compromise regardless of the current state of development. In other words, I am trying to redraw an abstract plan for an ideal libre distribution that Trisquel can be made into. It's an engineered dream, if you will. Independent from the current development plan. Actually, the fact that I'm an outsider to the technical intricacies of the current development setup is helping me in thinking independent. I may be thrashing as well, but it is brainstorming afterall.

So, comparing my suggestions with the current state of affairs can lead to confusion. Please try to forget how things are actually set up in Trisquel today. Open a fresh page and try redesigning Trisquel development yourself from scratch (retaining the tenets ofcourse), or suppose that you're going to fork it and trying to find out how to fork it best, and then we shall be in the same domain.

I am not saying that Trisquel strategy is wanting, I am just trying to redraw a Trisquel-like system development blueprint from scratch. Hopefully some parts of it can be applied to Trisquel's benefit, even if some parts not.

These are the main differences between our points of view, I think.

HuangLao
Offline
Iscritto: 01/19/2014

If you want a Libre OS that is based on Ubuntu then use Trisquel.

If you want a Libre OS that is based on Debian then use gNewSense.

Each has its merits, each has its reasons for choosing the distro they are based on.

There are a few official FSF/Libre distros and a more distros that are Libre but not yet FSF approved. Two off the top of my head are FreeSlack (more of a way to liberate Slackware then its own distro) and ConnocahetOS (based on Slackware and SalixOS).

ref: http://freeslack.net/
https://connochaetos.org/wiki/

ADFENO
Offline
Iscritto: 12/31/2012

I might be wrong here (of course I might, because I don't/can't speak
for the FSF, and I don't participate on the workgroup for free/libre
distribution evaluation), but perhaps the whole point of the GNU FSDG is
to answer questions such as: "Once a user sits in front of the system
dinstribution being evaluated, how easy is for the distribution **iteslf** (or
project, and those involved) to recommend non-(free/libre) software?"

Notice, however, that in such question, the focus is the average user,
and so the thing that can "interface" directly with such user is a
system distribution.

What could be done (although risking being overwork) is: continuing
having the GNU FSDG; but also make a Free Software Repository Guidelines
(GNU FSRG). But this could also result in more confusion since we also
have the GNU Ethical Repository Criteria that serves to evaluates
code-hosting servicese (i.e.: not repositories to be used by [possible]
free/libre system distributions directly).