[blag-whereto] GNU Bucks (and follow-up on my last mail)

Brett Smith brett at fsf.org
Mon Sep 28 17:41:03 BST 2009

Hi folks,

I just now saw that my mail to r7 from earlier in the month got
forwarded here.  So I'd like to take this opportunity to address a
couple of the questions that came up there.

First, when Firefox is included on the blacklist, that's referring to
the specific browser as it's shipped by the Mozilla folks.  As people
suggested here, other browsers that are based on Firefox and avoid the
freeness issues discussed there are fine.  Using IceCat from the
GNUzilla project (http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/) seems to be a
popular choice amongst other free distros, but you're welcome to use any
browser that doesn't have these problems.  As far as I know, Epiphany is

Second, my job title is admittedly a little stuffy because I spend a lot
of my time talking to usually-stuffy-themselves lawyers who work for
companies that are violating the GPL and other free software licenses.
I promise I'm a lot less stuffy when I'm not talking to them.  :)

But the real reason I got inspired to mail you all is to let you know
about a new program we're cooking up here at the FSF that I think can
help you out.  Ever since we published the guidelines for what it
takes to be a free system distribution
we've been thinking about how we can better deal with the issue of
nonfree software that is accidentally included in these distributions.
We're confident that the policy requirements that we currently have,
expecting distros to dedicate themselves to removing any nonfree
software that's discovered, are the right ones. But we've been looking
for practical ways to be more proactive about addressing those sorts
of problems -- steps that are within our means and the means of
distribution maintainers like you. And we've come up with a new
program that we think will do a good job of striking that balance.

We're calling it the GNU Bucks program. If you're familiar with the
rewards that Donald Knuth gives out for finding errors in his texts,
this works similarly. We will ask people to send complete, detailed
bug reports to the appropriate distros, and copy us. If the bug report
leads to nonfree software being removed, they'll receive a special
"GNU Buck" signed by RMS, along with public recognition on a web page
if they like.

When that happens, we'll also spread word to other endorsed distros,
through the gnu-linux-libre mailing list, to make sure they can
address the issue too. That way, we'll get as much benefit from this
work as possible.

In order to implement this program, can you please let us know how you
would like to receive these bug reports? Any reasonable method is fine
-- forum, mailing list, you get the idea. We'll collect all that
information for all the endorsed distros and publish it on the GNU
Bucks site -- we want to make sure that you can deal with these
reports as easily as possible. If you could let me know where we
should point people who have BLAG reports, I'd appreciate it. And if
you could also give me an idea of what your timeline for BLAG
development looks like now, like I was asking in the last e-mail, I'd
doubly extra appreciate that.  :)


Brett Smith
Licensing Compliance Engineer, Free Software Foundation

Support the FSF by becoming an Associate Member: http://fsf.org/jf

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