[Freedom-misc] do you know discourse.org forum software? Other libre forum software?

adrian.malacoda at member.fsf.org adrian.malacoda at member.fsf.org
Sun Jul 8 08:46:58 CEST 2018

Discourse is free software (GPLv2[0]), so it is acceptable on that front.  
Note that it requires JavaScript to be enabled, although the JavaScript is  
free software it may be an issue to some people. I dislike the trend of web  
sites requiring JavaScript when they could be made to work without.

Discourse heavily advertises their paid plans, which are hosted offerings (on  
a dot-org page, no less - traditionally the dot-com site is for the  
commercial offering and the dot-org is the community side!). You need to find  
the small link on their page to the GitHub to access the source code, where  
they have instructions on how to install[1].

Docker is also free software (Apache 2.0[2]), albeit what is known as "open  
core" - the free version is termed "community edition" and their main  
offering is "enterprise edition." Docker, like Discourse, tries to heavily  
push the commercial offering on you, and even when you want the "community  
edition" they try to direct you to "Docker Store." Fortunately, they also  
have instructions (if you can find them!) on how to install Docker using an  
apt repository[3] (The Discourse install instructions include Docker, but you  
may prefer not to run a curl | sh pipe.). Somewhat confusingly, they try to  
apply this bizarre EULA[4] to both the "community" and "enterprise" editions,  
but it distinguishes between "open source" and "licensed" software and as far  
as I can tell the EULA only really applies to "licensed software"  
("enterprise edition").

Another problem with Docker is that it offers a "hub[5]" which is sort of  
like a package repository. Many images (I'd wager the vast majority) offered  
through the "hub" are free software, but there's no guarantee that everything  
on there is. Fortunately, this is probably not as big a problem as it would  
be for a user-facing package manager, because you're unlikely to be looking  
through a directory of images offered on the hub; instead you already have an  
application in mind you'd like to install and want to find out if it's on the  

[0] https://github.com/discourse/discourse/blob/master/LICENSE.txt
[1] https://github.com/discourse/discourse/blob/master/docs/INSTALL.md
[2] https://www.docker.com/components-licenses
[3] https://docs.docker.com/install/linux/docker-ce/ubuntu/
[4] https://www.docker.com/docker-software-end-user-license-agreement
[5] https://hub.docker.com/

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