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Re: Success report on Linux/PPC, small Ada problem

On Mon, 4 Feb 2002, Robert Dewar wrote:

> <<gnat_rm.texi contains many references to software available from ACT,
> which I noted as inappropriate commercial advertising in a GNU manual, but
> hopefully the software in question is at least free software.
> >>
> ALl such software is part of the GNAT system, so I see no reason not to
> refer to it in the GNAT manual. All this software is part of the source
> distribution. I simply don't understand the distinction you are making here.
> For us GNAT, including the FSF version, is a complete Free Software system
> for Ada programming, not just a bare compiler.

The references are such as "For information on GLADE, contact Ada Core
Technologies.".  That's commercial advertising.  A GNU manual should say
something more like "GLADE is free software, available from @uref{.....}."
(presuming this to be true).  Similarly, where the manual says "Ada Core
Technologies does not currently supply such a tool", the question of
whether ACT supplies such a tool is irrelevant to a GNU manual; the manual
should indicate whether such a tool is known to be available as free
software, and from where if so.

> Of course, but it is certainly valuable for GCC to run on targets other
> than GNU, and I have never heard anyone question this before.

It is valuable, but the value of running on such platforms, relative to
that of running on free platforms, is less than say five years ago, and
certainly less than ten years ago when running on non-free platforms was
more or less necessary.

I don't object to the current lists of primary and secondary evaluation
platforms, but I also don't think it would any longer be unreasonable if
only free platforms were listed as primary platforms in release criteria
and non-free platforms were only secondary.  Certainly that would seem to
be in the spirit of the instructions to GNU maintainers, placing GNU and
GNU/Linux in importance above other platforms.  (Though in such a case, 
for variety, there would at least need to be GNU Hurd, GNU/Linux and BSD 
systems included in the primary platforms.)

> Once again, Joseph, I would like to understand what you mean when you
> talk about the manual recommending the use of proprietary software.

I didn't bring up the question of recommending the use of proprietary
software.  I haven't seen the User Guide so don't know what the problem
with it in this area is.

Joseph S. Myers

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