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There is one freedom "the four freedoms" do not address: the freedom to choose. Users are free to use free or nonfree software. If they choose the former then they accept the terms of usage of the respective license. If they choose the latter then they accept the terms of usage of the respective license.
In all, I believe free/libre software promotes a better planet, but to be free myself, I can't deny the freedom to choose for other people.
With that said, I suppose Pat needs to know how many Slackware users still use xv. Slackware is packaged with several image viewers and image manipulation programs, but perhaps xv continues to fill a specific void that non xv users are unaware.
I don't think anyone really listens to RMS and the GNU crew and takes their ideals.
I mean look at hurd, if GNU is so great why has it taken them 22 years just to get a functional kernel going?
FOSS is a great idea on paper, but by the time free implementations are available, the hardware that they were meant to run on is ancient. I mean Linux ran on my 386 and my 486... hurd runs on my i7... see the issue here?
I don't know who really uses xv anymore but if Pat has still included it, then their has to be some demand for it.
I like Slackware for home use, but in the environment I work in it is necessary to have a package manager that can fetch updates, apply them without any issue, up time is critical for me, we use SLES at work for most of our servers.
I have Slack boxes at work however, just because it's easy to hack and make it do what you want it to do. (I refuse for the most part to work in a windows environment)
I was leaning towards agreeing with the OP - I think xv could be dropped, if there was a good reason to do so. Then I followed the link to gnu.org and read that Slackware has lots of company on this list. And that dropping xv alone won't grant Slackware their approval. And that they disapprove some distributions because "they make it too easy to install non-free software". Should software now be written to make it difficult to do things GNU disapproves of? That sounds like an awful idea. So - yes, keep xv.
I don't think it is a good idea.. Removing xv alone wouldn't satisfy the 'completely free' requirements, and if we removed everything we needed too then Slackware just wouldn't be Slackware.
xv seems handy as a very light and fast image viewer for use from the command line. It also can handle displaying images from stdin (eg. 'cat foo.jpg | xv -'), which I don't think the other viewers included in Slackware can do.
Does it hurts anybody?
Does it makes Slackware unusable?
Does it nailed to Slackware itself so it cannot be removed?
Is there any better replacement for it?
Does it make any unrecoverable problems?
I don't think there is at least one positive answer.
I use xv quite frequently and have been doing for the last decade or so.
In my opinion, nothing comes closer to the ease of use that xv provides for a quick pick at an image.
I would definitely do NOT want xv to be removed, especially based on some vague puritan views.