[maemo-developers] Updating the info for Extras-devel non-free

From: Jeremiah Foster jeremiah at jeremiahfoster.com
Date: Fri Nov 27 19:11:34 EET 2009
On Nov 27, 2009, at 12:03, Stephan Jaensch wrote:

> Am 27.11.2009 um 11:15 schrieb Quim Gil:
>> - Do you want non-free apps showing up in
>> http://maemo.org/packages/repository/qa/fremantle_extras-testing/ ?
>> - Do you want non-free apps showing up in
>> http://maemo.org/downloads/Maemo5/ ?
> I'm relatively new to the Maemo scene and am currently developing my first Maemo app using C++ and Qt. I have also played with Python and PyQt which is quite nice. Just wanted to take this opportunity to say hi to you all and give you my humble opinion on the matter. :)


> First of all, my viewpoint as a user: I want as many apps as possible.

There are tens of thousands of debian packages in stable alone.

> Choice is always good. I own an iPod Touch, and I can say with confidence that my criteria for selecting an app is always functionality, quality (hard to gauge since there is no "try before you buy", so I'm judging by user ratings for that) and price. As a user, I don't care about source code availability. One of the main reasons I chose Maemo/N900 instead of e.g. the Palm Pre is that there are almost no apps available for their WebOS platform even months after release.

One of the reasons for this is surely the fact that they _rejected_ free software apps from their repos. 

> As a developer, I want users to be able to get the app as easy as possible, delivering as high a quality as I can. So obviously I would want my app to be in extras-testing. But if that is not possible / not wanted by the community, appearing on downloads/Maemo5/ would still be important.
>> Testers with a strong opinion about open source might not be interested
>> at all on this, but other users might be indeed interested in becoming
>> betatesters of a non-free app in exchange of checking the lastest
>> versions some days/weeks before regular users get them in Ovi or elsewhere.
> I agree. I do understand that Maemo has a strong open source (or even free software) crowd. I am a big fan of open source myself. If people do not want non-free apps on their device, just don't add non-free to your sources.list. Problem solved. Same with QA. Nobody is forcing anybody to QA non-free packages, right? That doesn't mean that people who actually want to do that QA should be prevented from doing it.

It sounds good, but there are some question marks. Firstly, will anyone know that it is free or non-free through the testing interface? But there are other problems too which largely stem from mixing free with non-free applications. Once this happens, it can be confusing to know where the line is - developers start to use proprietary software thinking it is open. In fact recently we have had situations where free software was in non-free and non-free software was in free. So already we are seeing problems with the mixing together.

The consequences for Nokia can be non-trivial, it is them that a company like Nintendo will sue, not a random free software developer in University. I see problems with this sort of mixing both practical and philosophical.


More information about the maemo-developers mailing list