How do I know which packages/apps are free software?

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Hein

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Joined: 07/30/2022

Hi Trisquel Community,
I'm commited to only use free software and nothing else. Now the question is: is all software I can download in the synaptic package manager or "add/remove applications" free software? Do they only use the repositories recommended by Trisquel?

And does the apt command use the same repositories as well?
Is it possible to install non-free software with either of the package managers or the apt command? (Which I don't want of course haha just want to make sure I don't unknowingly install any non-free software)

Thank you,
Hein

iShareFreedom
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Joined: 12/20/2021

Yes, the synaptic and add/remove applications ask to the Trisquel repository to show what are there, so as Trisquel only distribute, share and recommend free software you go to see there only free software.

Ark74

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Joined: 07/15/2009

Bear in mind that if the user add third party repositories, apt and synaptic will install software from those too.

So the recommendation is to stick to trisquel default repositories/mirrors to keep some level of certainty on such sources.
Regards.

Hein

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Joined: 07/30/2022

Alright, so as long as I don't add another repository, any package manager will only resort to the Trisquel repository. That's goog to hear, thank you for your quick responses!

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

People gave really good advice but I will add one thing. Eventually you may need software that isn't in the Trisquel repos. It's bound to happen at some point. If you're ever wondering if a program is FOSS one place to check is the FSF:

https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Main_Page

You can search a program and if it's in that database it should be FOSS. Another place to check is the place they keep their source code because the license will be listed usually.

Take for instance the Matrix client "Cinny":

https://github.com/cinnyapp/cinny-site

If you look on their Github page on the right hand side you can see that they use the MIT license.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

Looking at a license is important but not the only part of the picture. Dependencies for example.
From https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

"In any given scenario, these freedoms must apply to whatever code we plan to make use of, or lead others to make use of. For instance, consider a program A which automatically launches a program B to handle some cases. If we plan to distribute A as it stands, that implies users will need B, so we need to judge whether both A and B are free. However, if we plan to modify A so that it doesn't use B, only A needs to be free; B is not pertinent to that plan."

Blobs for another example. If a program is really a frontend for SaaSS. There are lots more factors too.

Malsasa
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Joined: 12/01/2016

Hi my friend Hein, Trisquel follows the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (FSDG) [1]. It guarantees all software distributed by Trisquel free software. In other words, if you use Trisquel, you do not have to worry anymore of installing nonfree software by accident from its repository. I believe your question is more suitable to be asked to non-FSDG distros (also known as Common Distros) [2] instead, like, Ubuntu or openSUSE.

Sincerely yours,

Malsasa

[1] https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.en.html
[2] https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html

Hein

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Joined: 07/30/2022

Yes that's what I was worried about, so I'm glad to hear that the question isn't even applicable to Triskel/Trisquel :)

Hein

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Thank you PublicLewdness, this also helps a lot! It's good to have places to check.