[Dev] We do not blacklist support, for God's sake!!!

Luke T. Shumaker lukeshu at sbcglobal.net
Tue Jan 8 03:07:59 GMT 2013

At Mon, 07 Jan 2013 19:05:58 -0600,
Jorge Araya Navarro wrote:
> So please, please, please, do not blacklist support that relays on free
> software with the excuse of "is a package that is useful only with
> nonfree (external) hardware" or "is a package that is useful only to
> build software that only can be used on a nonfree OS".

While I agree with you, understand that the reasoning behind
blacklisting it is reasonable.

Observation 1:
  We do not include software that is only useful with the use of
  nonfree software.
Observation 2:
  Using an iDevice means that the user is using the nonfree software
(false) Conclusion:
  Software that is only useful with an iDevice should not be

However, Observation 1 relies on an important assumption:
  That the (free) software is essentially incomplete without the
  addition of nonfree software, therefore recommending the nonfree

However, I don't think that a program to sync contacts with a
palm-pilot, or a library to access an iDevice is recommending that the
user get one of these devices. However, I will grant that this is a
gray area. (One could see "works with iPhone" and view this as
validating that device, as well as suggesting that *Parabola* supports

Now consider:

FSDG wrote:
> 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.

I believe this gives clear protection to the packages discussed.  In
case of both packages (the palm-pilot one and the iDevice one), these
are both useful even if the user has abandoned using the device, as
they can be used to extract the user's data from the device.

Further, Parabola also supports similar opperations with
Replicant/Android devices that run free software, so it isn't as if
the this support is exclusive.

FSDG wrote:
> For a borderline case, a clear and serious exhortation not to use
> the nonfree program would move it to the acceptable side of the
> line.

If some people still feel iffy about it, we can throw up a wiki page
about support for nonfree software running devices that explains what
packages are needed to talk to each, how to get data off, but implores
users to switch to a free software running device.

Happy hacking,
~ Luke Shumaker

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