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Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

From:  Christian Schaller <cschalle-AT-redhat.com>
To:  advisory-board-AT-lists.fedoraproject.org
Subject:  Proposal: Revision of policy surrounding 3rd party and non-free software
Date:  Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:52:04 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID:  <1978930636.2568114.1390315924051.JavaMail.root@redhat.com>
Archive-link:  Article

This proposal comes out of the work on the Fedora Workstation PRD.

The Fedora project values freedom and has for a long time tried to minimize
our users exposure to non-free software.  While this is a good idea the
time has come for fine tuning the policy a bit. Fedora has been declining
in popularity for a long time now and we are trying to revamp it with the
ongoing Fedora.next work. That work has a lot of components, but one of
them is to make getting the software you need installed and running easily
on Fedora in a userfriendly manner.

As part of this a new software installer has been developed, as first seen
in Fedora 20 (https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Software).
This new installer has given the Fedora desktop the beginning of a more
user friendly way and thus competitive way of installing new applications
and similar, but to finish the task we need to be able to offer users easy
access to the most popular and sometimes critical pieces of Linux software
available, including non-free software.

The way we want to achieve this is to make such software discoverable and
installable through the new software installer. We want to do that in a way
we feel is compatible with the overall goals of Fedora and legally sound.

In order to keep with the Fedora policy of only shipping free software we
will only make available 3rd party software that offers their own
repository for their software. Examples here include Google Chrome and
Adobe Acrobat.

In order to keep things clear in a legal sense we will only include such
software in collaboration with said upstream and after a review by lawyers.

The software will come with a warning in the installer that this is not
software provided by the Fedora project and that users need to contact the
relevant upstream for support. We will also make it clear that this is not
free software and users will be presented with a need to 'opt-in' to use
said non-free software for that reason.

We have created a mockup of how this could look, but be aware that this was
put together quickly and is in no way the final design. Neither all the
textual information we want in there as outlined above is included nor is
the final version likely to look exactly like this. We still feel it might
help people understand a bit more where we are going with this: 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5031519/software/wire...

The working groups will be free to decide what software to try to get
included based on the guidelines above. In terms of technical impact and
support overhead the working group will need to decide if something is
'supportable' and work with relevant development teams as needed.

In Fedora we want to support and encourage Freedom. We can only achieve
that goal if we are considered relevant and with a sizeable community using
Fedora.  We support and encourage the use of free options in Fedora by
having them as our default and recommended solutions, but we are only
hurting ourselves and limiting our chance to educate and inform our users
by making them turn away from Fedora due to feeling that getting what might
be critical software for their usage is a hassle with Fedora.

So to summarize the proposal.

* Fedora will continue to not ship non-free software and as part of that
  will continue to only default to free software.
* We will add the needed metadata to the Software installer to give our
  users the freedom to choose to install legally cleared 3rd party software
* The Working groups will have the ability to work with legal council and
  technical teams to achieve this goal


Sincerely,
Christian F.K. Schaller
Fedora Workstation Working Group
_______________________________________________
advisory-board mailing list
advisory-board@lists.fedoraproject.org
https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/advisory...

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Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 16:12 UTC (Tue) by SEJeff (subscriber, #51588) [Link]

A Fedora equivalent of Ubuntu's jockey/jockey-gtk would be awesome:

http://people.canonical.com/~pitti/screenshots/jockey/joc...

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 16:21 UTC (Tue) by torquay (guest, #92428) [Link]

This is a step in the right direction. However, why go only halfway? Why not go to the logical conclusion of this effort and have an appstore-like model (ala iFruit and Android) which lets users install whatever they want in a user-friendly manner, without getting the lawyers involved?

"Freedom" also means being able to do what you want with your machine, which includes installing non-opensource software. I had a chuckle at the irony of "in Fedora we want to support and encourage Freedom" all while "for a long time tried to minimize our users exposure to non-free software".

I digress. This is indeed a welcome move on the part of Fedora, and it is encouraging to see a more realistic approach.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 16:26 UTC (Tue) by Uraeus (subscriber, #33755) [Link]

The reason the laywers needs to get involved is that there is some potential liability for Red Hat involved. So we don't want to add something that might get Red Hat sued with claims of encouraging copyright infringement or similar in Fedora.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 16:37 UTC (Tue) by torquay (guest, #92428) [Link]

As much as I like Fedora, let's be honest here. For Fedora to be competitive with Ubuntu, it needs the ability to install 3rd party binary drivers for graphics cards, etc. Also, to make Fedora usable for watching random videos/movies or playing music, you need to install software such as VLC. If this is not easily doable, Fedora will forever be a small niche within a niche.

"Fedora has been declining in popularity for a long time now", so why not let the lawyers work out a way of getting themselves out of the way, and let people install whatever they need to make their machines usable?

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 16:48 UTC (Tue) by Uraeus (subscriber, #33755) [Link]

They can install whatever they want, it is not like the system is locked down. But yes, for the example of VLC people will have to install that manually or themselves enable a repository that includes VLC.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 16:52 UTC (Tue) by vonbrand (guest, #4458) [Link]

OK, first get rid of the (ridiculous) software patent mess. Next step is to get all software distributed for free, packaged in Fedora-friendly formats.

I.e., this is the sort of problem with an easy solution that starts with "First, boil the oceans. Then..."

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:22 UTC (Tue) by Seegras (guest, #20463) [Link]

> for watching random videos/movies or playing music, you need to
> install software

THAT can't be Fedoras problem. Just because some asshole claims to have an illegally granted monopoly (and some moron courts even respecting this reasoning that pi=3) is NO reason at all not to bundle that software.

It's a) mathematically impossible to patent software, since it's equally possible to proof mathematically that software IS mathematics, and mathematics is not patentable; and b) it's ALSO mathematically possible to proof it's impossible to NOT infringe the already illegally granted patents. So there. The only reasonable thing to do is to ignore software patents.

Either the courts will realise their insisting on the sun turning around the earth is futile (and just plain stupid), or they will wreck ALL of the software-industry in the meantime. In either case, those patents are irrelevant.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:54 UTC (Tue) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

That's nice and all... but patent lawsuits in the U.S.A. are pulling in upwards of $200 billion a year. Yes, that's with a b. At least that was the figured quoted a few years ago. I would imagine it has increased since then.

Some software patent related stuff has made to the US Supreme Court and unfortunately that stuff was upheld and it is somewhat unlikely that they will feel the need to take up the subject again anytime soon. Also given the fact that our most recent Congress got less done than any other Congress in our history, I don't expect they will be tackling many hard problems such as eliminating software patents any time soon.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 18:55 UTC (Tue) by rriggs (subscriber, #11598) [Link]

So, what about adding the RPM Fusion repos to Fedora? That's the first thing I do after a new Fedora install to make it useful. Just ask during the installation "Would you like to enable RPMFusion to get the good stuff that Fedora does not provide?"

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 19:14 UTC (Tue) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

That isn't merely a policy question and it wouldn't be approved by Fedora Legal because RPM Fusion has patent encumbered software. It will likely considered an unacceptable risk.

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Software_Patents

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 21:57 UTC (Tue) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

In that case (imho) legal has gone mad ...

It's all very well, if RH / Fedora want to avoid doing things of questionable legality themselves (although it's software patents themselves that are illegal ... and its the trolls that should get slammed for it), but to refuse to point customers to 3rd-party repositories is pretty much the same as Yellow Pages refusing to list photocopier companies because customers might use them to make counterfeit currency!

Cheers,
Wol

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 22:13 UTC (Tue) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

Adding a third party repository to the default source list goes far beyond merely pointing it out and anyway this is answered extensively in detail in the wiki page I referenced.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 1:52 UTC (Wed) by torquay (guest, #92428) [Link]

    Adding a third party repository to the default source list goes far beyond merely pointing it out and anyway this is answered extensively in detail in the wiki page I referenced.

I had a look at the wiki page and the email discussion linked therein. I'm not sure I agree with the premises. It seems the lawyers are being overly cautious.

Within this context, a patent can only describe a physical device which implements certain functionality. This is why Microsuck sued Samsung and other Android handset manufacturers, rather than directly suing Google over the Android software. Merely copying the software doesn't infringe hypothetical patents. A patent is only applicable when a device exists that performs the functionality described in the patent; such functionality can be induced through reconfiguration of the device's internal hardware (eg. through software).

Software without hardware doesn't do anything. Copying software from a 3rd party repository to a user's computer does not violate patents. A possible patent violation only occurs when the said software is run on the computer, thereby converting the computer to a device that behaves in a manner as described in the patent.

At this point we get into the grey area of "encouraging or enabling patent violations". On one side of the spectrum we have "default install" (eg. fresh installation of Fedora) which directly installs software that can reconfigure my computer to perform a patented function (eg. my computer can become a patent violator merely by installing Fedora). On the other side of the spectrum we have "deliberate action of the user", the extreme of which is clicking on enough buttons in the right order (eg. write C++ code) that implements a patented codec. So, is Red Hat encouraging me to violate codec patents because they've supplied /usr/bin/gedit in the default installation of Fedora?

Merely enabling access to a 3rd party repository (and not installing any software from the repository) doesn't violate anything, and doesn't directly encourage people to copy and use software subject to patents. The user still has to search for software and explicitly induce his/her machine to install the software. The content of the 3rd party repository is beyond the control of Red Hat. The real question here is the amount of user interaction required to install 3rd party software, and Fedora so far has onerously erred on the user-unfriendly side.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 2:54 UTC (Wed) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"I had a look at the wiki page and the email discussion linked therein. I'm not sure I agree with the premises. It seems the lawyers are being overly cautious."

Yes, what else did you expect when the stakes are so high on patent lawsuits? Red Hat has already gone through their share of that.

"Merely enabling access to a 3rd party repository (and not installing any software from the repository) doesn't violate anything, and doesn't directly encourage people to copy and use software subject to patents. "

... or maybe it does. Look, you are free to wax poetic about how patents are mathematical abstractions that should never granted in the first place or make ridiculous comparisons with gedit but the fact of that matter is that Fedora has excellent legal representation and the legal policy on this issue is going to be decided by them and not by LWN commentators however if you care enough about this and really think you can convince them, feel free to make your case in Fedora legal mailing list.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 4:27 UTC (Wed) by torquay (guest, #92428) [Link]

    you are free to wax poetic about how patents are mathematical abstractions that should never granted in the first place

Except that I made no such statement. Instead, I specifically pointed out that software without hardware doesn't violate any patent.

    or make ridiculous comparisons with gedit
That was the point: to demonstrate an extreme end of a spectrum. It doesn't make it any less valid. The question is at which point on the spectrum are the lawyers comfortable with, and why?

    but the fact of that matter is that Fedora has excellent legal representation and the legal policy on this issue is going to be decided by them

No dispute there.

    and not by LWN commentators however if you care enough about this and really think you can convince them, feel free to make your case in Fedora legal mailing list.

Ah, so I can't post my thoughts and observations here? This seems to be your modus operandi: shut down any discussion on LWN which you deem inappropriate. Rather than appealing to a higher authority (Fedora lawyers, or more precisely Red Hat lawyers), how about you elucidate (here, on LWN) why Red Hat has taken the current legal position? The reasoning provided via your original link seems rather obtuse.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 4:50 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

> Instead, I specifically pointed out that software without hardware doesn't violate any patent.

There have been multiple patent suits involving software without a hardware embodiment. I'm not aware of any that have been thrown out on that basis.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 5:50 UTC (Wed) by torquay (guest, #92428) [Link]

I suspect that the lawsuits need to touch on hardware somewhere down the line (ie. software must run on something), as patents need to cover working devices. Alternatively, they might be business process patents, but that's another kettle of fish. Do you have links or names of the lawsuits?

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 12:51 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

For instance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eolas#Litigation - the patents were eventually invalidated, but courts seemed absolutely fine with the idea that Microsoft were infringing despite shipping no hardware.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 23, 2014 3:48 UTC (Thu) by torquay (guest, #92428) [Link]

From Eolas patent US7599985:
    1. A method for running an application program in a distributed hypermedia network environment, wherein the network environment comprises at least one client workstation and one network server coupled to the network environment, ...

The italics above indicate hardware components.

Similar requirements are in Eolas patent US5838906.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 12:26 UTC (Wed) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>There have been multiple patent suits involving software without a hardware embodiment

[citation needed]

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 14:38 UTC (Wed) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcatel-Lucent_v._Microsoft....

And there's plenty more where that came from. Wikipedia is indeed the place for citations needed.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 23, 2014 14:10 UTC (Thu) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>And there's plenty more where that came from. Wikipedia is indeed the place for citations needed.

Wikipedia's great if you know what you're looking for, but I'm not planning to look for every article that looks like it might be about a software patent, then read the claims in all of the patents mentioned. That's the purpose of citations - to prevent the reader from needing to do all of the research anew every time.

Anyway, thanks for the pointer. It's interesting that the two patents listed explicitly in that article are process patents, and hence it would presumably be possible to infringe even without any software, say by performing all of the steps using a piece of paper and a pencil.

It's curious that the case was successful, as at that time it was held that process patents could be infringed only by the act of actively performing the process, not by distributing a machine or set of instructions for performing the process. Hence *running* the software in question could be infringing, but merely making and distributing it could not.

To bring this back to the topic, I guess that makes it an especially good example of the kind of things that lawyers fear: a case where Microsoft was fairly clearly not infringing, but lost anyway.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 5:28 UTC (Wed) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"how about you elucidate (here, on LWN) why Red Hat has taken the current legal position?"

How about neither of us pretend to be lawyers and admit that we are not qualified to deal with legal positions? I have pointed out explanations from people who can represent the project on legal matters. You are not convinced by them and apparently seem to think you know better and maybe you really do so I am directing to you to suitable public forum where you can discuss this issue. That is hardly "shutting down" anything. Also, Fedora legal isn't just Red Hat lawyers FYI.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 12:46 UTC (Wed) by vonbrand (guest, #4458) [Link]

As a long-time Groklaw reader, I came to appreciata that law isn't about logical abstractions. It is a mush of subtly different shades of gray, where a lot of someones draw lines with not too much coordination.

From a strictly logical point of view, having access to a text editor and ($DEITY forbid) a compiler, and just being able to look over the published patents, enables me to get patented software on my machine. Downloading it from somewhere in the patent-free world does so to. But there is a significant legal difference there.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 13:52 UTC (Wed) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> Instead, I specifically pointed out that software without hardware doesn't violate any patent.

There is "contributory infringement" which means that facilitating usage of the patent (by doing claims A though B while another party does C through D) it could get you on the list of defendants.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 22:17 UTC (Tue) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> although it's software patents themselves that are illegal ... and its the trolls that should get slammed for it

While I agree with your sentiment, the costs of the court cases to defend such a position is astronomical. Besides, you'll need to go through the Federal Court of Appeals which is notoriously patent-friendly before you can get a *chance* of a decision your way with the Supreme Court. It'd probably be cheaper to just buy a couple dozen congresscritters at this point.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 16:40 UTC (Tue) by johannbg (subscriber, #65743) [Link]

I dont think this is a step in Fedora direction since this proposal directly attacks the fundamentals of what Fedora has stood for all those years...

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:44 UTC (Tue) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

This isn't the first time such a thing has been done. There have been "helpers" in previous Fedora releases that did such things as refer users wanting to interact with .mp3 files to the free Fluendo mp3 decoder. That lasted for a release or two and then was gotten rid of.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 0:16 UTC (Wed) by johannbg (subscriber, #65743) [Link]

Right and it's removal was covered here
https://lwn.net/Articles/273710/

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 18:15 UTC (Tue) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

> This is a step in the right direction. However, why go only halfway? Why not go to the logical conclusion of this effort and have an appstore-like model (ala iFruit and Android) which lets users install whatever they want in a user-friendly manner, without getting the lawyers involved?

Because to do that you need to actually have a modern package management system and a set of strong APIs and ABIs that people can program against and always depend on. RPM/Yum/DNF (or apt/deb/etc) is not going to cut it. The deficiencies of the current distro-specific and release-specific repository system is not something you can paper over with a clever GUI.

As it stands now only people that are closely related to a particular distribution, or a organization with significant resources, can ship software in a manner that is easily accessible to end users to a particular distribution.

Individual developers, small development groups, and smaller businesses are always going to be locked out of the end-user application software ecosystem for Linux and users are always going to have huge difficulties installing their software unless somebody introduces a manner to easily install software in a sandboxed manner.

To correct this you need a system that does not require a unique package for each distribution, you do not have to repackage for new distribution releases, and you can easily bundle dependencies for APIs that are not promised to be maintained in a stable manner by all common distributions. (all of this within reason, of course. It does not need to be perfect, currently all of this is pretty much non-existent). Also you need to have quality development tools and documentation to make all of this easy to get right and hard to screw up.

So instead of doing something like:

./configure && make && make install

You need:

./configure && make && make package

And have it so that users can just install the package without worrying about the fact that it was built on Ubuntu last year's release and they are using OpenSuse's latest release.

What you want, unfortunately, is not within the ability of Fedora to provide by itself. It's just not popular enough.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 20:18 UTC (Tue) by niner (subscriber, #26151) [Link]

"As it stands now only people that are closely related to a particular distribution, or a organization with significant resources, can ship software in a manner that is easily accessible to end users to a particular distribution."

Wrong. Everyone can create a repository and upload packages on the openSUSE build service at http://build.opensuse.org
These packages can be build for openSUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian.
With One Click Install it's easy for end users to add this repository and install the packages and receive updates in the future: http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:One_Click_Install

There are already solutions. People just have to use them.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 20:57 UTC (Tue) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

All of that is nice, but..

What is needed is to eliminate the need to build dozens of different packages as well as eliminate the need for dependency tracking (among other things). As far as I can tell it still places the burden on the developer to figure out all the silly differences between distributions.

If it gets done correctly then you can even eliminate the need to re-install software between OS installs. Just like you can save your home directory between installs and not have to reconfigure everything. Similar to how in Windows people use portable versions of software to avoid the inconvenience to do installs on machines they don't control. It should be possible to do that with all the applications in Linux.

If you do end up with a some sort of conflict or depreciated API because of the age of the application you are trying to run then it should help you resolve it.

I am sure that everybody here can think of a few different ways that you could have a 'firefox' or 'open office' on a USB key and have the ability to easily execute and run that software, without change, on any any relatively modern Linux desktop with just the use of a clever shell script wrapper and some creative use of 'LD_LIBRARY_PATH' and a few things of that nature.

We all have done stuff like that. I know for the applications that I did that in Fedora they 'just worked' when I did a upgrade between 19 and 20. No need to re-install them like the rest of everything.

It should be possible to standardize that approach and make 'portable apps'-style approach the standard applications are handled on a Linux OS. Then it would be a improvement over even the best mobile OSes in terms of use.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 21:28 UTC (Tue) by Lukehasnoname (guest, #65152) [Link]

You're diving into the holy issue of security and centralization of libraries vs. distributing every program with statically linked libraries for the sake of "not dealing with silly distro differences".

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:33 UTC (Tue) by Seegras (guest, #20463) [Link]

> What is needed is to eliminate the need to build dozens of different
> packages as well as eliminate the need for dependency tracking (among
> other things). As far as I can tell it still places the burden on the
> developer to figure out all the silly differences between distributions.

Unless you want to have something like NeXTSTEP fat binaries, the answer is no.

Because you DO have to build dozens of different packages, because there are dozens of different architectures. And that's not about dependencies or different distributions.

Googles and Apples app-stores work, because they only support one architecture. But even they struggle with different devices and versions of their own distributions...

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:41 UTC (Tue) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

Android actually has a couple different architectures under the covers, but the only time a developer needs to worry about it is if you are writing 'native code' for performance.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 6:35 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

And developer need to jump through hoops only if s/he is doing nasty low-level things (uses SSE/NEON intrinsics or assembler, etc). If it's just straight C/C++ then developer only need to open one file and add one line to it (e.g. one need to replace “APP_ABI := armeabi armeabi-v7a” with “APP_ABI := armeabi armeabi-v7a x86” to add x86 support…).

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 10:04 UTC (Wed) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

One thing I don't understand is why distros don't ship Android environments. It has successfully built a end-user orientated platforms, and there's a plethora of portable software available for it, both free and non-free. There are free software market-place apps.

From what I can tell from LWN reports, the stock kernel can now run Android user-space, so... ? Is it because the distros view Android as competition and don't want to facilitate its use?

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 11:48 UTC (Wed) by NAR (subscriber, #1313) [Link]

I'm not sure how an app designed for a 4 inch display and a touchscreen input interface would work on a 17 inch display with mouse and keyboard.

But I do wonder too, it could be nice.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 12:37 UTC (Wed) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

PC-type computers (and, in particular, notebooks) are increasingly being outfitted with touchscreens on account of Windows 8. That would presumably bring them closer to usefulness as far as Android apps are concerned.

You could probably put a bunch of Android apps in, e.g., 800x480 pixel windows on your 17-inch full-HD desktop. Many smartphones don't have higher resolution than that, and the size on screen should be OK.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 13:53 UTC (Wed) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

Most apps work fine with a mouse and keyboard - I have a little bluetooth keyboard+mouse that I use with my Android phone at times. The one thing I notice is pinch-zoom. You can't do this with mouse. However, you can do it with slide gestures on touchpads, though that is indeed less convenient. Many apps don't need pinch gestures though.

Not sure why screen size is an issue. I still play old games originally intended for circa 160×200 displays on 21" LCDs just fine. In the worst case, scaling pixels up by X is trivial, but Android is a bit more DPI independent than that I think.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 0:31 UTC (Wed) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

You are answering a different question, one that was not asked. The problem is the fragmentation of the application-level APIs (which include system libraries other than libc), far more than even the multi-vendor Android land.

Actually to your point there was a FatELF proposal which seemed like it solved some practical problems but was shot down in favor of nothing really, although eventually Debian multi-arch kind of sort of solved it, for libraries, not applications though.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:32 UTC (Tue) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

how does Adobe manage to do the impossible and ship a binary that works with all (x86) distros if it's as impossible as you make it sound?

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:47 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

With care. They link with a YeOldeGlibeC from the Victorian Era and compile-in all the dependencies possible.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 0:35 UTC (Wed) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

You could almost create a one-click-win button with some kind of pre-packaged ancient environment and compiler options like they are using. Something scripted which could become a de-facto standard if it becomes popular.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 18:07 UTC (Wed) by smoogen (subscriber, #97) [Link]

And the maintainers would be constantly inundated with why don't you update Y to a newer version because we really need Y::foo() and your Y doesn't have it.

Then you go into the multi-library hell of building part of your binary with Y.0.1 and another part with Y.0.2 and the last bit with Y.1.2 to meet all the subordinate parts needs. It can be done.. but the lifetime of the people working on the project is measured in months not years :).

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jun 23, 2015 8:47 UTC (Tue) by FrazzledJazz (guest, #103272) [Link]

Its digressing. ALL of it. You cant have your cake and then eat it.ODE to CHOCOLATE cake.

Fedora wants to eat its own cake.Chapeau/Korora is what Fedora is aiming for but can NEVER achieve either with thier model or thier legal base.And rightly Ive respun Chapeau for even MORE non-free software. Give the USERS what THEY WANT. You just cant do that with a ONLY FREE licensing model.There is another distro that ships that way. It too suffers.I believe its called Mandrake.......its the industry which says DVD decrpytion/playback is illegal without payment, its the industry that says MP3 playback is illegal without payment...its the industry pushing MOV/MKV/AC3/AACS and the like. Bluray is open sourced, but only makemkv team has gotten around all of the hooplah the industry give us for discovering thier decryption keys and broken sector workarounds.DumpHD cant do enough. It causes hiccups in the video streams. This is typical with open souce software trying to keep up with industry.Video drivers are another dying cause.Ever since the days of DOS, after the industry forced VBE3 to fail on its own head, we have been forced into proprietary-ness.The GENERIC video just doesnt exist.And it never will.There is no investment potential in it.All we can hope for is to hack away and hope we come close to what proprietary drivers do.Most Linux fail at this. Fedora comes close to a FREE and OPEN solution.

XfBurn is just recently getting support for BDROM sized images, K3B has broken support even though the standard and codebase has been out for years. You want DVD playback,? You need the CSS cracking libs over at VLC.Mandrake has "done the right thing" but paying $50 per codec isnt the solution neither.I want my support and I WANT it NOW.Everything should "JUST WORK".I shouldnt have to go digging for some libs or apps.I shouldnt have to PAY thru the nose for it neither. There simply inst a way to OPT-in without choosing a spin that opts-in for you.

In this respect we die a slow death. Even if we could advertise the hell out of Linux we would still be stuck with these caveats.You are RUNNING closed source software or unsupported software or NONFREE software.Because if you arent, you simply arent enjoying your OS very much.UBUNTU tried to push this FREE model on people with v12 I think. It didnt work.Nobody knows what a OGG file is. Whats a WEBM? Whats a THEORA? Nobody knows.

You say Skype or Office and everybody knows.Everybody knows what a MP3 is.Everybody knows that you insert Audio CD/DVD/BluRay into the player its supposed to JUST WORK. And when it doesnt, people get FRUSTRATED.People dont understand why Wine is necessary and why they cant have thier favorite apps from yesteryear.Why do people want to mess with code when they can get an app? The main selling points for Linux(other than running on the oldest possible hardware) DONT WORK for the masses.They dont understand the WHY or the HOW.

Linux is in everything but if I dont know how to hack it(or cant hack it --hint hint AdTrap..), what good is it to know this?
ONLY the GEEKY truely know what being a "Linux" is.

My Hat off to Torvalds, but the Linux industry needs to PUSH Linux in a manner that end users can actually have a use for.RedHat COULD in theory do this, as Fedora is only a spinoff of thier product.But then you'd probably be paying for Linux, something not many Linux users are very fond of.I still remember the days when Linux cost $50 in the store and you couldnt download it from anywhere.You simply HAD to BUY it.Maybe we need to go back to that model......

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 21, 2014 23:34 UTC (Tue) by samtuke (guest, #60368) [Link]

There's no mention of "Free" or "non-Free" in the installer draft pics, despite this hopeful statement:

> We will also make it clear that this is not free software
> and users will be presented with a need to 'opt-in' to
> use said non-free software for that reason.

Also, was it necessary to host that Fedora installer demo pic on dropbox? Not really a sensitive choice given the discussion surrounding it.

I can understand the pressures from competitors to review policy, but this sounds like a broad stride towards proprietary software dependency.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 1:52 UTC (Wed) by Uraeus (subscriber, #33755) [Link]

The installer already supports free software and you can check it out today in Fedora 20. The pic in question is just a mockup of how the workflow could look for adding non-free stuff to the installer.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 7:55 UTC (Wed) by gw666 (guest, #12326) [Link]

Adobe Reader is a fantastic example, as Adobe has stopped development and security updates for this software. That's why you'd get a bit-rotten software from this repository and open up your system for the latest 0-day exploits via PDF documents.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 22, 2014 8:38 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

but that wasn't because they were trying to make a bunch of versions for every distro like you claim they need to. They never ever bothered to do that, they always just shipped one binary and it was up to the distros to make it work.

Flash is another example where they don't do per-distro versions like you claim is needed. There are many others.

Fedora Workstation proposal: ease installation of non-free software

Posted Jan 23, 2014 23:56 UTC (Thu) by AdamW (subscriber, #48457) [Link]

Solidly rejected by the Board today:

http://meetbot.fedoraproject.org/fedora-meeting-1/2014-01...

"AGREED: The board believes that shipping repository metadata that points at non-free software is incompatible with Fedora's foundations"

"ACCEPTED: The board believes that reducing technical barriers to explicit user choice to install third-party software (non-free or otherwise) is compatible with Fedora's foundations. (+6, 1, -0)"

there was a lot of argument about the wording of the second, but if you read the full meeting logs, its intent is clear.

Good. Fedora is a free software project. I'm glad the Board made this decision.


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