https://social.mikegerwitz.com/url/37790

https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/bb20.jpg

This is very disappointing to see. The screenshot shows "You're ready to go!", followed by "You can use 'Software' to install apps like these:". The apps they list, in left-right top-down order, are: VLC (free), Skype (non-free), Spotify (non-free), Slack (non-free), Discord (non-free), Corebird (free), Mailspring (free), GIMP (free), Minecraft (non-free), Android Studio (non-free), Ora (non-free), Notepad-Plus-Plus (free), Tusk (free), Brave (free), and IDEA Community (free).

That is 8 free and _7 non-free_. Also in the screenshot on the left is an Amazon icon.

We've known #Ubuntu to do these things for a while now, but I grow increasingly disappointed with each release. Ubuntu also encourages the use of proprietary software through "snaps", and advertises non-free software by default through their package repositories unless you explicitly check a box (at least in previous version) during installation to use only free repositories.
Vale@ganbara.nai @valerauko

@mikegerwitz proprietary software exists and there's a lot of it. i don't see a problem here.

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@valerauko
> proprietary software exists and there's a lot of it

Well, that's the more fundamental problem, and is why I'm a free software activist. ;)

But this is disappointing because of Ubuntu's roots. It became popular back in the day because it was a fairly well-polished Debian GNU/Linux derivative. It was accessible.

But now it's a distribution that is _harmful_ to the free software community. Recommending Ubuntu to a user is blatantly recommending proprietary software. And with each release, it gets worse. (Though there are fully free derivatives, like Trisquel.)

Debian itself hasn't been endorsed by the FSF because it has a non-free package repository (https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html). Ubuntu has taken that a step further with their snap container repository, which appears to have no license restrictions.

@mikegerwitz locking people out of proprietary would be even more harmful. let people make that choice.

@valerauko A "choice" means that the user is given an option between two or more things. But that is not what is presented. What is presented is a list of indistinguishable programs unless users choose to look at the license field, which means nothing to most of them to begin with. A choice would mean that Ubuntu would make a clear effort to mark non-free software as such (or vice versa), along with an explanation to educate users as to what that means.

Looking at that screenshot, and looking at snapcraft.io, I see none of that. (The screenshot seems to reflect the recommendations on Snapcraft.) In fact, such little effort is made that the license fields aren't even links.

We disagree on what "harmful" means as well.

@mikegerwitz it's clearly not the mission of ubuntu or snapcraft to promote free software specifically. instead they give the users what they want

@mikegerwitz It's almost as if the purpose of snaps was to bypass the Debian development process and make installing proprietary software easy on Ubuntu

@bob @mikegerwitz isn't Snap and other similar stuff (Flatpack for example) designed to provide one build for all Linux distributions?

This is a known issue for standalone apps (games for example) where Linux is unreasonably hard to get right, because of the many distributions.

I always thought Flatpack, Snap, etc. were trying to solve that.

@bob @minitrope Yes it's a container system that I think works across many GNU/Linux distributions. I haven't researched it at all, but as long as it is free software, I have no problem with its existence; they're just using it for bad things. :)
@mikegerwitz @bob @minitrope That's the thing with the bundle strategy. FLOSS has never really had the problems Snap, Flat and Appimage try to solve. The only problem they solve is to install proprietary applications in Linux. They also introduce some major security issues as they might not get security updates. Instead of dedicated maintainers the whole stack.. dependencies and all will be a responsibility of the developer.

I haven't followed the last years or so development.. so things might have changed. I however will not touch a package like that until they fixed the security issues... also the extra bloat. Why do I have to have multiple versions of the same lib? Flatpack seems to be the better solution of the above though.

@shellkr @mikegerwitz @bob I don't agree. For a software developer that does not only target Linux, trying to accommodate more than one distribution is a pain, FOSS or not.
This is the main issue. These formats come from the FOSS community.

If the goal was to solve installing proprietary software then they would just maintain repositories and such. Ubuntu is notoriously known for non-free repos for example.

The rest are valid concerns but mostly technical issues, that I believe can be fixed.

@minitrope @bob @mikegerwitz How can that be? You only have to release the code freely available and then the community of that distro picks it up. They will package it and maintain it. While giving back valuable feedback.

As a developer you don't really have to bother with packaging unless you want to.. or have some obscure package nobody wants. You can do what you do best and focus on your project.

With bundles you also have to become a maintainer.... You have to know when a lib you use have a security update e.t.c.. Sadly there will still be people who install an older release and be vulnerable. They will not necessarily automatically get an update with the distributions package manager.

@shellkr This is magical thinking. One can't even get an rpm of Signal Desktop in this day and age. "Just release your code and $distro will package it" presumes a ready supply of labor which is not always present. Snap and Flatpak partly exist because of the "seriously, there's no $distro package of this?" problem.
@minitrope @bob @mikegerwitz

@bob @mikegerwitz Honestly, I'm strongly seconding this response.

This isn't even an Ubuntu thing -- flathub.org also has a large amount of proprietary on it's first page.

@bob I suspect that was a motivation, but I haven't followed its development at iall, so I couldn't say whether or not that is actually the case.

(Btw I seem to not be receiving your messages anymore...I must be following an old account...!)

@mikegerwitz Ubuntu was designed as a user-friendly, polished OS, because no free distro was even remotely close to that. And they did it for profit.

They succeeded by focusing on what users want. Which includes things that free software has failed to provide. Like Minecraft and Spotify.

Ubuntu developers have given back to the free software world in code and design. Ubuntu has brought Linux to an increasing number of users. And it puts its users first instead of politics.

@sixhohsix
> Ubuntu developers have given back to the free software world in code and design. Ubuntu has brought Linux to an increasing number of users. And it puts its users first instead of politics.

If we generalize this argument, it's a common one: Open source expanded the reach of free software, thereby providing freedom more broadly to users, so is that a good thing?

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html

It is good that more are using free software, but it's a shallow "win": what good is freedom if it isn't realized? What are the benefits of free software to users who don't even realize that those freedoms exist? It degrades itself to a technical benefit---a development model; which is precisely what open source is.

It's good that Canonical has given back much to the free software community, but it's important to consider the issues separately: their contributions to free software, and their efforts to undermine it. One is good and should be praised. The other is bad and should be strongly condemned.

> Which includes things that free software has failed to provide. Like Minecraft [...]

I just want to mention Minetest (and derivatives)---I've made a number of posts about how I use it with my children, and how much fun they have with it. Also see:

http://www.ocsmag.com/2016/04/04/mining-for-education/

@mikegerwitz @sixohsix I would rather they helped many people run some Free software (including a mostly-free OS) than helped a very small number of people run entirely Free software.

Agree that it’s disappointing that proprietary apps seem to need to be used to win people over but recognise it as a pragmatic decision. Seems to me to be equally good if people start using some FOSS and then learn about Freedom vs people learning about Freedom then using some FOSS.