[Dev] Does pilot-link comply with the FSDG? (was Re: [Assist] Reporting bugs)

Michał Masłowski mtjm at mtjm.eu
Mon Dec 24 12:51:36 GMT 2012

> The pilot-link package [0] doesn't comply with the FSF's Free Distro
> Guidelines [1]: it recommends using nonfree software (PalmOS) --- in fact,
> the package is useless without it.
> [0] https://parabolagnulinux.org/packages/extra/i686/pilot-link/
> [1] https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html

I think it does comply.  This part of the FSDG seems relevant:

> In general, something that helps people who already use nonfree
> software to use the free software better with it is acceptable, but
> something that encourages users of the free software to install
> nonfree software is not.
> For example, a free system distribution may have documentation for
> users setting up dual boot systems. It could explain how to access
> filesystems of the proprietary operating system, import settings from
> it, and so on. That would be helping people install a free system
> distribution on a machine which already has proprietary software,
> which is good.
> What would be unacceptable is for the documentation to give people
> instructions for installing a nonfree program on the system, or
> mention conveniences they might gain by doing so.

(I think these references to "documentation" instead of "software" are
not significant, these issues are more obvious to appear in

I haven't used pilot-link, what I have read about it suggests that:

- it's useful for users already using nonfree software on other machines

- it might replace other nonfree software on the same machine, or make
  it easier to move to a free system

- it refers to a nonfree operating system it works with

I think the same arguments apply to binutils (Windows-specific tools)
and GRUB (dual-booting documentation explictly naming Windows).

Are there specific cases of pilot-link availability in Parabola
encouraging users to start using PalmOS or other nonfree software?
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