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Re: beta status

On Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 06:50:11PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> The main point is, do we ship it as part of the installer stuff, knowing it
> is needed to boot, or even worse in the case of miboot, it needs to be
> built into the images.

This is a point that is off-topic for the debian-alpha, debian-amd64, and
debian-release lists.  Stop crossposting this discussion to lists where it
doesn't belong.

> On Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 08:04:22AM -0700, Christian T. Steigies wrote:
> > On Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 02:00:03PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > On Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 05:53:53AM -0700, Christian T. Steigies wrote:
> > > > libnix is an AmigaOS library, and is available on aminet, which IIRC predates 
> > > > Debian by a couple of years. Do you want to ship all free software on aminet
> > > > with Debian now, too?

> > > Well, it depends on stuff outside of main for use/build, so cannot go
> > > in main.

> > It is an AmigaOS binary, built from free source with free compilers. So
> > we just have to include all the free AmigaOS software to be able to ship
> > a precompiled amiboot? As I said, no problem with me, maybe we include
> > all free TOS and MacOS software as well, ataboot and Penguin have to be
> > compiled somehow as well.

Do we *ship* Penguin?  I didn't think that we did?

> > So why not include aminet, and what ever are the counterparts for atari,
> > mac, maybe C64, Pet2001, those were nice machines as well, and maybe we
> > still use something that was first developed on one of those machines.
> > Would be a big boost for the emulator packages that are already in
> > debian, and free software is free software...

I don't think argumentum ad absurdum is helpful in this discussion.  Debian
doesn't just distribute "Free Software"; we distribute a Free *Operating
System*, and the first clause of the Social Contract says "we will never
make the system require the use of a non-free component", which is exactly
what we're doing if we're shipping bootloaders that cannot be fixed or
changed without the use of a non-free compiler.

We also shipped at least one bootloader with woody that was in violation of
the GPL because it wasn't accompanied by source.  Should we continue to do
so, just because we did this in woody?  No; these are *bugs*, not
precedents, and they should be fixed, not guarded.

That means that we should be finding a way to build these bootloaders using
free tools running on Debian systems, instead of having silly discussions
about uploading ancient AmigaOS software to the archive.

> > In case you did not get it yet, I think this would be a stupid thing,
> > debian is about Un*x, Linux, *BSD software. Do we have DOS compilers as
> > well? What about loadlin?  The source(!) package contains a compiled
> > loadlin.exe, but it also contains the source.  The makefile says: To
> > compile with Borland TASM 3.1. In case that assembler is still
> > available, is it free software? Don't you need to run DOS to use it?

... and loadlin is also under the GPL, so I suspect this is also technically
undistributable in binary form unless we have a compiler/assembler that can
build it... (Anyway, as noted, loadlin may be included on i386 CDs, but it's
not normally *used* -- it's actually fairly niche these days...)

> The problem with miboot is that there are 200 or so m68k instructions in the
> boot sector, which have not been changed since over 10 years probably, and
> probably nobody at appple even remembers them, and thus we are not shipping
> miboot even in non-free, while at the same time distributing it from
> people.debian.org.

FWIW, I think that asserting that "we" are distributing miboot from
people.debian.org is nothing more than an invitation for someone to ask you
to remove the binaries.  But is there actually any reason why miboot can't
be distributed in non-free?  If there is, then that reason also applies to
distribution from people.d.o, but I don't know of any such reason.  I think
miboot is not in non-free only because it's not useful to have it packaged
there so long as there's no d-i-non-free package to make use of it.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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