Allowed Content

Christopher A. Williams chriswfedora at
Sat Jul 25 15:22:34 UTC 2009

On Sat, 2009-07-25 at 09:49 -0400, Mike Danko wrote:
> On Thu, 2009-07-23 at 17:48 -0400, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> > On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 02:35:43PM -0400, Ricky Zhou wrote:
> > > Hey, I mentioned a few recent fedora-docs-list threads at the last IRC
> > > support operators[1], and they were generally very positive about
> > > some of the howto/knowledge base ideas that have been brought up.
> > > 
> > > One concern that they brought up was whether we have a policy on what
> > > content can/cannot be on Fedora's wiki (or "official" Fedora docs),
> > > something more specific than
> > > 
> > > One example that was brought up is that we currently have a howto for
> > > installing flash at, so there may be
> > > some current confusion about this.
> > > 
> > > I will keep in touch with the IRC support operators team and see what
> > > allowed vs. not allowed topics are FAQs for them.
> > > 
> > > Thanks,
> > > Ricky
> > > 
> > > [1]
> > 
> > Flash has a page because it is not illegal to use anywhere in the
> > world that we know of, and the page provides up-front the suggestion
> > that people try to use a FOSS implementation.  Incidentally, it also
> > does not impede other base functioning of the system that prevents
> > effective debugging and troubleshooting.  This is not true of
> > encumbered add-ons like MP3, proprietary video drivers, and so on.
> > 
> > Having said that, I'm not overjoyed about having a Flash page, and the
> > reason I contributed so much to it myself was to make sure it was as
> > clear and accurate as possible.  I do recall there was discussion
> > around the time of its creation, and would ask that before proposing
> > any policy, the proposer should research that discussion.  I would
> > remove it to have a bright-line policy if required, but I do note that
> > (1) it has first ranking on Google for "fedora flash", and (2) I'm
> > pretty sure we've had a lot fewer Flash installation problems as a
> > result.
> > 
> > Those facts do not trump our mission, though, so if this page goes
> > away, so be it.  (The 2nd page is the unofficial Fedora FAQ which can
> > just as easily serve this purpose.)  The mission of Fedora is to
> > advance free and open source software, which Flash is clearly not.

> This is really tricky actually, and while being a Freedom loving
> software advocate, there are lots of reasons to at least have content
> available on how to use proprietary tools. This is a complex world, and
> systems we use are complex SYSTEMS.
> For example, in my day job I've been told I can only run qualified
> software on qualified hardware for doing certain tasks. By the time
> things are actually qualified for our applications, hardware is EOL'd
> and un-order-able. Is there any need to actually do things this way (at
> least in our applications)? Not at all. People aren't even aware that
> there are options to running Oracle on RHEL4 and using java 1.4.1.
> Ideally, yes, you'd want to use Free software on a Free system, but
> there are advantages, especially with "enterprise grade" applications,
> to using a Free system to run proprietary applications. 
> I've been prepping a CC licensed book to getting started with database
> development on Fedora, maybe what I'm saying will make more sense when I
> have some available online. 

(Re-ordered the thread to "compensate" for the top-post of the last

I have hesitated to jump into this thread, having inadvertently kicked
over a venerable hornet's nest the last time I did.

That said, I do believe the status quo of the Flash page is appropriate
to both the mission of Fedora and the pragmatic needs of the Fedora

There is an important difference (as is eluded to in my signature for
this post) between being on a mission advocating the use of Free and
Open Source software, and being on a mission advocating the non-use of
software that doesn't fall into that category. I believe Fedora
Project's stated mission is, appropriately, aligned with the first and
not the second. Someone (like Paul F.) please correct me if that's not

It is an unavoidable truth for both proprietary software companies who
have an established hate for the FOSS way, and for Free Software
companies and organizations - even those with a hate for proprietary
software, that there will always be a pragmatic need on the part of
people using these systems to appropriately mix both classes of software
on the same machine. Not allowing for this is to live in an ideological
fantasy land, regardless of which side you take. Such an orientation
will only cost all of us in the end.

OK - I have dawned my asbestos suit once more. Flame away if you care



"Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first;
nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first."

--Charles de Gaulle

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