I’m a hypocrite. I use the Chromium browser packaged by the Debian Linux distribution. I also use Google’s sync service for my bookmarks. By using the open-source (yet Google controlled) Chromium instead of the proprietary Chrome (which is based on Chromium), I fool myself into thinking I’m adhering to some kind of software freedom principles. I don’t want Google “spying” on me, so I don’t use Google Chrome, which could be a black box doing all sorts of horrible things for Google’s benefit.
The debate over whether to include nonfree firmware in the Debian installer has emerged from the depths of the debian-devel mailing list under the title “Making Debian available.” The gist of this extremely long e-mail thread (and Debian is a mailing list culture, despite attempts to pull it into the 21st century is that the Debian Project is hostile to new users because its standard install images do not include nonfree firmware, and installations on most laptops will go poorly because the Linux kernel and free firmware might not support their WiFi or display systems.
As a Ruby user and programmer, I thought that Linux distributions and BSD projects offered packaged versions of Ruby gems to add sanity and stability to a computer. The problem is that every distribution and project packages a different subset of all the Ruby gems available. I’ve always tried to use as many “packaged” gems as possible in the systems I run — chiefly Debian and Fedora Linux, along with OpenBSD.
There were clones of — or more accurately downstream projects based on — Red Hat Enterprise Linux before Red Hat bought CentOS in 2014. CentOS started in 2006, and there have been other distributions based on RHEL. (My favorite is still Nux’s Stella from the CentOS 6 days.) There are many (many!) other Linux distributions and BSD projects that can supply a server or desktop operating system. Most of them are not owned by corporations that can limit their distribution on a whim.