This past week, Fedora 35 was EOLed. That was the last release tracked by Freed-ora, so Freed-ora is now officially retired. I'm taking the liberty of sharing some reminiscences about this subproject.
When Freed-ora started, I had just joined the Linux-libre project, then led by Jeff Moe out of the BLAG project. Besides cleaning up Linux to make Linux-libre, I wanted kernel builds I could use myself, with the same fixes and improvements that went into Fedora, keeping with the spirit of minimal changes to make the kernel Free Software, and GNU Free Software Distribution Guidelines compliant. Back then, Linux carried lots more blobs than it does now, and most of them were still binary programs disguised as sequences of numbers in source code. It didn't take me long to offer to maintain Freed-ora as part of the Fedora project. That offer was declined, which hurts me to this day, but it taught me a valuable lesson about Fedora's alignment with software freedom. That was later confirmed as the License: tag in Fedora kernel RPMs remained mislabeled for many years, ignoring an easily-fixed bug report and misrepresenting the nature and the license of the packaged software. The nonfree nature of these bits was only partially acknowledged when Linux moved most of the blobs to separate files, still distributed as part of Linux "sources." Fedora built a single kernel source release into several binary packages, one of which got all of these "precompiled" binaries, whether freedom-respecting or freedom-denying, and marked the whole set as under various licenses, which made the package "Redistributable". Even after Linux moved those bits out of its source distribution, into separate repositories, a few binary-only programs under nonfree licenses have remained disguised as sequences of numbers in "source" distributions of the kernel Linux to this day, and it has been acknowledged in Fedora kernel packages since 2012-09-14, commit 702ef34859. https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=450492 (Wikipedia, alas, still carries this bit of misinformation, explicitly denying the presence of nonfree blobs in Linux. An editor there cares very strongly about preventing this factual correction.) :-( At some point, Fedora representatives politely asked me to rename Freed-ora: the name was believed to be harming Fedora's reputation of commitment to software freedom. It was my turn to decline: if denouncing hypocrisy and misleading claims hurts anyone's reputation, silencing the messenger is not the cure. I've carried that torch for much longer than it has been of any use to me (I've long moved on from Fedora). For years, I've sought another maintainer to take over, and eventually committed to maintaining it till the end of the Fedora 35 release cycle, which has just come to an end. Thanks to Jeff Moe, for starting Linux-libre, maintaining BLAG, entrusting me with Linux-libre, and adopting Freed-ora in BLAG. Also, for providing me with build machines and hosting for Linux-libre sources and for Freed-ora builds in the early days of my involvement, already on behalf of FSF Latin America as part of the "Be Free!" campaign. Later on, the FSF kindly offered us primary hosting of the project and the subproject, Linux-libre became part of the GNU project, and Jan Prunk kindly provided me with access to a build machine that relieved the FSF-provided server. Thank you all! The Freed-ora repositories are going to remain around for a while, but in case anyone is still using Freed-ora, I strongly recommend switching to RPMFreedom, maintained by Jason Self (thanks!). It doesn't track Fedora kernel builds, but rather GNU Linux-libre's major and stable releases, just like Freesh's .debs that he also maintains. My Freed-ora rest in pieces ;-) Live long in freedom, and prosper respectfully, \\//_ -- Alexandre Oliva, happy hacker https://FSFLA.org/blogs/lxo/ Free Software Activist GNU Toolchain Engineer Disinformation flourishes because many people care deeply about injustice but very few check the facts. Ask me about <https://stallmansupport.org>