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free-non-gnu-distros.en.html

David Hedlund
I would love to have your operating systems listed in https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-non-gnu-distros.en.html, however the Free Software Foundation "staff said that those who want their distros listed have to request it. Being listed involves a commitment to remove any nonfree software present" to quote Richard Stallman. Please mail to this address if you would like to get listed: [hidden email]

Can you do that?


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Re: free-non-gnu-distros.en.html

Jim Hall-2
On Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 6:18 PM, David Hedlund <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I would love to have your operating systems listed in
> https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-non-gnu-distros.en.html, however the Free
> Software Foundation "staff said that those who want their distros listed
> have to request it. Being listed involves a commitment to remove any nonfree
> software present" to quote Richard Stallman. Please mail to this address if
> you would like to get listed: [hidden email]
>
> Can you do that?
>

We've discussed this topic previously on freedos-devel, and I think
the short version is this:

I would very much like for FreeDOS to be listed on the FSF's website,
but FSF has some issues with the compilers used in FreeDOS
(specifically OpenWatcom) and no "FSF-approved" compilers exist for
DOS that can do the job on a system lower than a '386. So we don't
worry too much that the FSF doesn't list us as a "Free Non-GNU
Distribution."

So we make sure FreeDOS remains as close to the free software ideal as
possible - and as practical. We only include open source software in
the FreeDOS distribution, for example.

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Re: free-non-gnu-distros.en.html

Rugxulo
In reply to this post by David Hedlund
Hi,

On Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 6:18 PM, David Hedlund <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I would love to have your operating systems listed in
> https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-non-gnu-distros.en.html

One GNU Emacs guy (Reuben Thomas) asked back in 2014, but nothing ever
came from it.

https://sourceforge.net/p/freedos/mailman/message/32699763/

> however the Free Software Foundation staff said that those who want their distros listed
> have to request it. Being listed involves a commitment to remove any nonfree
> software present" to quote Richard Stallman. Please mail to this address if
> you would like to get listed: [hidden email]
>
> Can you do that?

What about hardware? Even ignoring obvious problems (hardware patents,
UEFI, Management Engine), you still need an x86 cpu with an IBM-style
BIOS. One guy (Kevin O'Connor) claimed that FreeDOS can run on some
Chromebooks with CoreBoot/SeaBIOS:

https://sourceforge.net/p/freedos/mailman/message/33194720/

As far as the FreeDOS software itself goes ....

The bare minimum DOS is kernel and shell. The kernel itself (GPL) is
compiled by OpenWatcom (OSI but non-free):

http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/dos/kernel/2042/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybase_Open_Watcom_Public_License

The popular shell (FreeCOM) is also GPL but uses proprietary tools
(TurboC). There was an OpenWatcom port, but it wasn't finished and is
buggy. You can compile a simpler shell (Centroid, GPL) with DJGPP
(GCC), but it lacks many features that .BAT files require.

http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/dos/command/contrib/centroidcnc/

So that's bare minimum (not counting drivers / extensions like XMS or
DPMI or mouse or ...).

But, even then, FSF hates mentioning or linking to proprietary
software, yet FreeDOS is meant to be binary compatible with as much
legacy software as possible. So it's the same problem as ReactOS:

https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.en.html

So, outside of the main FreeDOS 1.2 distribution (which honestly has
way too many files to vet), the logical choice (to me, since I made
it) is MetaDOS:

https://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/distributions/unofficial/metados/

I tried to be 100% "open source", so that's as good as it gets. While
it doesn't include non-free software, it still partially needs
non-free tools and has indirect links to non-free software. Sure, you
can massage it, change it, remove functionality, port stuff to
different compilers, etc. It'd just be a lot of work, even for
something so lightweight.

If someone who is involved with the FSF really wants FreeDOS to be
included, I implore them to take a look at MetaDOS, which is quite
minimal. If even that isn't good enough (or close enough to fix), then
nothing else will be either. (I do actively maintain it, 0.5 is in the
works, but I'm not a miracle worker. I'm not quite smart enough to
rewrite everything from scratch or port all sources to other
compilers.)

So, in summary, FreeDOS overall still needs some work to port to
"Free" tools (compilers, etc). Sadly, this was unavoidable in the
early days, and there still hasn't been a huge effort to fix that yet.
It's harder than it sounds (but certainly not quite impossible). We
just don't have enough developers to solve every hurdle.

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Re: free-non-gnu-distros.en.html

Thomas Mueller
Excerpt from Rugxulo:

> So that's bare minimum (not counting drivers / extensions like XMS or
> DPMI or mouse or ...).

> But, even then, FSF hates mentioning or linking to proprietary
> software, yet FreeDOS is meant to be binary compatible with as much
> legacy software as possible. So it's the same problem as ReactOS:

> https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.en.html

I read that page, and it looks like a tall order to produce an OS or distro fully free by their criteria.  Even mentioning how to get something nonfree disqualifies?

>From that page:

  ReactOS

  ReactOS is meant as a free binary compatible replacement for Windows. Use with proprietary software and drivers meant for Windows is one of the stated goals of the project.

I think that would also be true for FreeDOS, replacing "ReactOS" with "FreeDOS" and "Windows" with "DOS" (such as DR-DOS, MS-DOS and PC-DOS).

It would be an awful tall order for FreeDOS to replace all legacy SCSI drivers and other hardware drivers with open-source versions.

Part of the purpose of FreeDOS is to use with proprietary DOS software such as business applications (Quattro Pro for DOS, dBASE for DOS) and legacy DOS games.  This could be said for DOSBox as well.

I have run Borland Quattro Pro and dBASE under both DOSBox and FreeDOS.

One of the goals of Wine is to use with proprietary Windows software.

Tom


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Re: free-non-gnu-distros.en.html

Jim Hall-2
Interesting development:
Richard Stallman emailed me last night to suggest I work with the GNU licensing folks on this topic.

So I'll follow up with them off list and report back on where things go.


On Jan 22, 2017 8:34 PM, "Thomas Mueller" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Excerpt from Rugxulo:

> So that's bare minimum (not counting drivers / extensions like XMS or
> DPMI or mouse or ...).

> But, even then, FSF hates mentioning or linking to proprietary
> software, yet FreeDOS is meant to be binary compatible with as much
> legacy software as possible. So it's the same problem as ReactOS:

> https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.en.html

I read that page, and it looks like a tall order to produce an OS or distro fully free by their criteria.  Even mentioning how to get something nonfree disqualifies?

>From that page:

  ReactOS

  ReactOS is meant as a free binary compatible replacement for Windows. Use with proprietary software and drivers meant for Windows is one of the stated goals of the project.

I think that would also be true for FreeDOS, replacing "ReactOS" with "FreeDOS" and "Windows" with "DOS" (such as DR-DOS, MS-DOS and PC-DOS).

It would be an awful tall order for FreeDOS to replace all legacy SCSI drivers and other hardware drivers with open-source versions.

Part of the purpose of FreeDOS is to use with proprietary DOS software such as business applications (Quattro Pro for DOS, dBASE for DOS) and legacy DOS games.  This could be said for DOSBox as well.

I have run Borland Quattro Pro and dBASE under both DOSBox and FreeDOS.

One of the goals of Wine is to use with proprietary Windows software.

Tom


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