Another month and thus another issue of Flattr FOSS. Time flies but Flattr’s usage seems to remain relatively strong.
I was fearing that people get bored after some time but that does not seem be to the case, my Flattr income does not really drop (it doesn’t take off either ;-)). I get a bit less for dpkg than at the start but a bit more for my blog.
Enough babbling, let’s go straight to the 5 projects to flattr this month:
- Linux Mint (Flattr link) is a Linux distribution based on Debian and Ubuntu that targets home desktop users. I have never tried it (I’m too much of an hardcore Debianer) but I’ve read several good reviews saying that it works well out of the box with good multimedia support. If you try it out, be sure to pick Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). 🙂
- Network Block Device (NBD) user-space support tools (Flattr link) is the set of tools to setup a block device whose content is really on a remote server. It requires support of NBD in the kernel of course. The user space tools are maintained by Debian developer Wouter Verhelst.
- Tahoe LAFS (Flattr link) is a filesystem that implements a cloud storage. The data are distributed across multiple servers in such a way that it can continue to work even if one of the servers fails.
- Gajim (Flattr link) is a full featured and easy to use Jabber client. If you don’t need support of multiple instant messaging protocols, this Jabber client might be a good fit for you.
- Aurélien Gateau (Flattr link) is a KDE developer who takes one day per week off his work to work on KDE. He seeks support from the community to compensate for the loss of revenue. Much like me, he has a support page with a complete history of the amount of donations received. I can only sympathize with people who try to live true to their passion… good luck Aurélien!
This article is part of the Flattr FOSS project.
Aurélien Gâteau says
Thanks Raphaël !
While I do not wish to be seen as badmouthing too much LinuxMint project, I am quite puzzled by the fact that you recommend them given the facts that they do not distribute sources on their mirror along isos ( or I was not able to find them ). Moreover, the “good multimedia support out of the box” also usually mean “binary drivers, patented codecs, flash support” installed by default.
Flash being licensed under a very strict license, I do not think they respect it if it is on the livecd.
Clement Lefebvre says
– You’re confused between mirrors and repositories… Our repositories (which are also mirrored, and not to be confused with our public ISO archive which is mirrored too) contain both binary and source code for our packages. We also host our own source on github.com/linuxmint. I understand that this can be confusing for novice computer users, though I wonder why people who aren’t familiar with the concepts of repositories/mirrors might want to dive into source code… Anyway, as you can expect from a project distributing GPL software you’re welcome to contact us and we’ll get you any source code you’re looking for.
– The vast majority of codecs are 100% free (as in freedom) and open-source. In fact, there’s only a few components which aren’t… if I remember well: Flash, RAR… and I think that’s it.
– Linux Mint does not include the binary nVidia/ATI drivers by default. I don’t know why some people believe it does. It never ever did.
– Software patents are a myth. They do not exist. If they did, they wouldn’t make sense and we, as a society wouldn’t allow them. Some companies might think they can demand royalties for the use of something coded by others (gstreamer codecs for instance). We don’t. Some countries might actually listen to their claims in a court (USA, Japan), but not here. For these countries we provide a special edition to magazines and companies so that they can distribute Linux Mint without fearing the racketeering of some greedy patent owners. As you can see, this isn’t an issue.
– We’re licensed by Adobe for the distribution of Flash.
– There’s a lot of information about our project on http://www.linuxmint.com and I’d like to invite anyone with additional questions to contact us directly. We’re proud and privileged to do the work we do and we’d be happy to answer people with queries. Really, there’s no need for these kinds of misconceptions/assumptions.
1) Indeed, the layout of the website is such that the repositories are in the end of the page and then I didn’t see them . But I think you may have misread the point 6 D of the GPL v3 :
d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated
place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the
Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no
( a, b, and c being about physical medium, e being about p2p ). I doubt however that anybody noticed this and this would cause problem per se.
About the fact that people may be interested by the source code, that’s likely true, but even if 1% of people only would be interested, I would still offer it, because that’s the 1% that will likely shape the next free software decade.
2) I think you forgot some components like virtualbox-non-free, according to the list on http://pkg-linuxmint.hnsdc.com/list.php?release=Debian . And googleearth , skype, picasa, opera, skype, world of goo demo.
3) I would say that the wording on the french wikipedia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Mint ) is likely a cause. There is also the expectation deeply rooted in people minds that “if you target end users, you need to offer them 3d drivers even if that mean big unsecure proprietary blobs”. But that’s quite nice that you didn’t took this road and IMHO, this should be more clearly written in the website if you want to counter the misunderstanding , cause few people will read the FAQ.
4) Permit me to be quite unconvinced by your affirmation that software patents are a myth. While I agree that in France and Europa ( except for Germany and MP3 ), there isn’t much problems so far ( thanks to the work of various associations ), I would not call this a myth. If there was no problem, you would not distribute a special edition. Not to mention that according to your FAQ, there is DVD playback out of the box ( http://www.linuxmint.com/faq.php ), which is unrelated to a patent problem, but more about DMCA, or EUCD ( transposed as DAVDSI in french law ). Hopefuly, the dvd consortium ressources moved to newer formats ( bluray, etc ), but it just requires that some lawyers decide that there is money to do to be in trouble :/
5) Is the agreement somewhere ? Not that I do not believe you, but as you are one of the few project that does it, and IIRC, the conditions were usually quite drastic, I would be interested into seeing it. The only other project ( outside of commercial distributions ) that did it was the one made by Warren Togami and it was shutdown some years ago.
Clement Lefebvre says
To answer briefly; we’re in compliance with the GPL and with Adobe. It’s hard to assess the level of protection a court would grant us if we were attacked by patent owners. But until that happens we’re not an attractive target from a financial point of view and we don’t consider patents a significant threat.