Re: Bug#181028: cdrecord: promotes non-free software
On Sat, 22 Feb 2003, Ben Collins wrote:
> IMO, we should not be promoting non-free software, especially when there
> is a free alternative. Just because Joerg wants to make a buck doesn't
> mean we have to let Debian become an advertising medium for him. He is
> using our distribution and our users to promote a closed source product.
Debian *is* an advertising medium for all kinds of things, both commercial
and philosophical. This bug is merely an effort to espouse the
submitter's philosophy over the interests of the person who did the real
work, the upstream maintainer.
Since we're obviously going to have a nice long flamewar about this, I'd
like to dive right in and say that I find this position to be complete and
total bullshit. We (Debian) are using Joerg's software to our advantage,
not the other way around. It's the tail wagging the dog when the
distributor of software begins claiming that it offers more value than the
software itself. Given the paticular nature of this piece of software,
I'd say that Joerg has done more for Debian than Debian could ever do for
him. Or maybe we should start distributing on DAT tapes...
Anyway, who cares if there is an advertisement in there? Has the license
been modified? Is the software no longer free (either as in beer or
speech)? I don't see the benefit in *actively* preventing Joerg from
making a buck, especially since it was he who has put all the effort into
cdrecord in the first place, not Debian.
But the most offensive thing about this type of statement is that it
exhibits a tendency of Debian developers knowing better, and presuming
that Debian users are too stupid to recognize an advertisement. That our
users somehow chose Debian, but have their heads up their asses about what
Free Software is... Joerg may even sell a few copies of his DVD software
to Debian users, but I doubt that he's going to become rich off of it.
So where's the harm? More power to him.
All that being said, we should probably all hunker down for all kinds of
witch-burning^Wmass bug reports on README files that mention the author is
employed by so-and-so and/or is affiliated with some evil scheme to
actually earn a living. The truly righteous Debian developers and users
are ascetic monks with no need for worldly things.
P.S. I harbor no ill will towards anyone involed with this, so I hope
that no one takes my rant as a personal attack. It's simply that, IMHO,
there are much more important social and technical problems within Debian
than a one-line advertisement. I don't dispute the fact that the license
gives Debian the right to remove the advertisement, but rather whether
removing the line is necessary. We're simply encouraging software authors
to reconsider how they license their software.
"Be the change you want to see in the world"
-- Mahatma Gandhi