Manjaro and GNU

I very much enjoy Manjaro every since I first tried it. Not only for being a good operating system that integrates well all the things I need, but also because of the free software Linux ideology that they practise.

Recently I’ve came across GNU’s site where they declare that operating systems such as Manjaro doesn’t agree with their view on Free Software. Apparently because Manjaro has in its repositories proprietary software and non-free «blobs» in its kernel.

Personally, the reason that I advocate free software is not because I wish all software to be free but more because usually the freer the software the more ethical it is. I guess for the simple fact that human’s greed becomes meaningless when you are working on something that is shared with a community. Of course I get were GNU is coming from, but in the end I guess it depends on what a user is willing to live without. I might find it hard to live without proprietary games and other user might find it impossible to live without Windows. However, I would say that Manjaro for sure pushes forward the Free Software ideology because hypothetically if the digital world was all made up of Manjaro like operating systems it would certainly be a freer and more pleasant.

I wanted to know the opinion of our community on this?


:poop: …that smells ! That means, if you don’t have the correct political conviction (…so, at least mine), you can’t use my software. Leave me alone with these hypocrites.


Well, “free” as in “freedom” is, from my humble profane’s standing point, rather conceptual at the end of the day if not to say dogmatic. However…

I left Windows for GNU/Linux 5 years ago, and indeed the ethical side of things was important, because there’s a certain lack of ethics IMO in the way things were being run, firstly, and secondly, I wanted to have at least a semblance of control over my operating system after shelling out hard and honestly-earned money on a PC to discover that it seemingly wasn’t mine after all… Remember Windows 10 et al?

Indeed, Manjaro is a keeper: I’ve stopped distro hopping and it’s been my go-to OS since 2019…and with no reinstalls since then either.


A vast subject that goes far beyond GNU/Linux, alas…

Bringing hardware manufacturers and big software companies to the bright side of the force has always been an uphill battle. And since most of their users have default (closed-source) systems (Windows / OS X), while software freedom is rather low in their priority list, why would they care?

So yeah, Manjaro does have non-free packages, such as proprietary drivers and some popular closed-source software, because it’s rather hard to be user-friendly without those…



I like Manjaro’s view that is tolerant but walking in the right direction at the same time.

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Sorry: free ≠ ethical

While free, is freedom as no restrictions, ethical has restrictions.

Say the government wants to use Linux in its missile defense systems, but ethical software prohibits that, while free software does not.

Small but subtle difference.


Yeah you right, I should rephrase it. I meant that freer software has more possibilities of being ethical. In the sense that amidst an ethical community on average it is more easy to make a free software ethical, while if a software is proprietary and owned by an unethical smaller group it is harder for the community at large to make it ethical.

I like to think about the developers of free software as mostly ethical :smiley: . That why I advocate it.

OK. Gotchya! :smile:

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such as?


Say the government wants to use Linux in its missile defense systems, but ethical software prohibits that, while free software does not.

That reminds me of a searcher in deep learning, Joseph Redmon, who created an object detection algorithm called yolo (you only look once), which later was used by the US army for their war drones. When he learned about that, he decided to totally stop his researches.

So yeah, free doesn’t mean ethical, it all depends on what you do with it


My knowledge is limited. For example proprietary graphics card drivers comes to mind. But that is exactly my point. I guess that even if some distros have proprietary software, they still have more free software than not. And freedom is also giving user choice.


You could reverse the perspective in the sense that Manjaro is more Libre than GNU and therefore doesn’t take away the user’s freedom to use proprietary packages if that is what the user wants.

It is entirely possible to create a Manjaro Libre if that is what you desire - just as it is possible with Arch - and like Arch - Manjaro is GPL licensed - so it is free in all aspects.

The fact that Manjaro allows proprietary packages in the repos and thus makes it possible to install and use such software - this is where GNU philosophy and Manjaro parts on separate paths.

And possibly others I don’t know


This is the problem when one starts to be fundamentalist about abstract principles.

I just thought when I read the GNU philosophy that it was somewhat unfair. Before reading I thought that GNU saw Linux distros as whole, as a good step towards user freedom. I was surprised to see that out of the multitude of Linux distros they just endorsed 8 of them that mostly I’ve never heard of: Dragora; Dyne; Guix; Hyperbola; Parabola; PureOS; Trisquel and Ututo S.

As if all others don’t advance user freedom at all.

Don’t think too much about it.
GNU endorses FOSS and only FOSS. They have always considered a distribution as fully FOSS if it has no non-free package in their repositories. That never prevented other distributions from increasing Linux’ popularity…


Sounds like the right philosophy to me :+1:

Life on Linux goes on! :smile:

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