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Bug#681419: Alternative dependencies on non-free packages in main

Michael Gilbert writes ("Bug#681419: Alternative dependencies on non-free packages in main"):
> Perhaps the motivation behind this centers around FSF expectations on
> Debian's handling of non-free?  If that is the case, wouldn't this
> discussion be more appropriate on the new fsf-collab list?

How about instead we think about what the real issue is.  The FSF's
view AIUI is that they want to avoid recommending (in the broadest
sense) non-free software.  I think this is a reasonable objection, and
it is one that we should be able to find some way to resolve.

It seems to me that there are two possible ways to do this:

 - Somehow change the package metatdata so that the reference to the
   non-free package lives in the non-free repo.

 - Change the packager UI, websites, etc. which interpret this data
   for users to not show references to non-free when they aren't

While I have some ideas about how to do this I think designing a
solution is not really the job of the TC.  So I guess my initial view
wearing my TC hat is this:

 This usage is currently permitted.  Policy should be clarified
 right away to make this clear.

 However, it is a defect that this causes non-free software to be
 inappropriately recommended.  (Specifically, users who ask to install
 `Debian' and do not say that they want to be offered non-free
 packages should not see them.)

 This defect should be fixed.  We invite the policy maintainers, and
 other developers, to design and implement the necessary technical
 measures and/or policy strictures.

 In the meantime a bug should remain open, initially against policy,
 to track this defect.  This bug is not release-critical for wheezy.
 We recommend to the release team that it be made a release goal for
 wheezy+1 if this is feasible.


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