non-free GNU/Linux distribution notice

Also available in Portuguese and Spanish

Software Freedom Day is about celebrating Free Software. While some operating system are fully proprietary this does not exclude GNU/Linux distributions from sometimes including non-free bits (binary drivers, firmware, etc). At the end of the day proprietary software remains proprietary be it an office application or a device driver. Our objective is to educate the world about using high quality free and open source software and that is what we should be doing.

We also understand users preferring installing popular distributions and therefore we should let them know about the bits which are not free. In order to do that we are recommending all SFD teams giving away non-free GNU/Linux distributions CDs to include a notice to cover the topic and have someone trained and available to answer potential questions.

Please find below the notice and download a A4 size layout with 4 notice per sheet here.

This CD contains lots of free software -- software that respects your freedom.  However, it also contains some non-free software.  When it runs, it may invite you to install other non-free programs as well. Software freedom depends on using only free software: in other words, not installing any of those non-free programs.

Some kinds of hardware currently require non-free programs in order to work.  To have software freedom, you need to switch to other hardware (see h-node.com).  It is now possible to have a fully featured affordable computer including working wifi and 3D-accelerated graphics with readily available components.  With hardware that works with free software, the other benefit (besides freedom) is that the free software community can help you out.

It is also useful to complain: phone or write to the manufacturer, and call for release of free software to make that hardware work if they want you to buy it.  Your complaint, together with many others, will push them to change.

Some video and audio formats are restricted by government-created artificial monopolies, known as software patents, which threaten distributors of free software to play those formats.  That software may have been omitted from this CD in consequence.  If you encounter media in those formats, push back: call on the publisher to offer a patent-safe audio/video format (Ogg or Webm) as well.  Even worse are secret formats, which are kept secret specifically to stop us from writing free software to play them.  The publishers of these media do not deserve your business (to put it mildly).

Some web pages include Flash files that can play only with the non-free program Flash Player.  This program is gratis, but it is not free in the sense of freedom, and it contains known features to restrict and track users.  It is important not to install that program.  The free GNASH player will work for sites that use Flash version 8; if a site uses a later Flash version, contact its operators and urge them politely but firmly to move back to Flash 8 for better compatibility.  Or they can advance to HTML5.

If you have any questions, your Software Freedom Day organisers will be happy to answer them.

SFD: Resources/CdNotice (last edited 2011-09-19 14:23:09 by FredericMuller)