Bug#681419: Alternative dependencies on non-free packages in main: counterargument
Steve Langasek writes ("Bug#681419: Alternative dependencies on non-free packages in main: counterargument"):
> Sorry for the delays in writing this up.
> I believe the *spirit* of the policy requirement is twofold:
I won't repeat myself too much, but as I have said I think there is a
third important underlying principle:
The Debian Project Should Not (At least in main) recommend non-free
software. I think that includes not mentioning it by name in Depends,
Recommends or Suggests.
> Consider the hypothetical packages gfoo, foo, unfoo
I'm going to rename Steve's packages for clarity:
foo-gui, nonfreefoo, freefoo
> But if gfoo can't declare 'Depends: unfoo | foo' because foo is a real
> rather than virtual package, then how can gfoo support those users who
> choose to install the non-free foo? We know that we don't control the foo
> package; is the desired outcome here that installing 'foo' must remove
This problem can be worked around by the use of a suitable indirection
metapackage in contrib.
main/foo-gui: Depends: freefoo | some-foo
contrib/some-foo-nonfree: Provides: some-foo; Depends: nonfreefoo | ...
external/nonfreefoo: nothing relevant
> So I submit that this is not an area where Policy should be enforcing a
> prohibition on the contents of non-default alternatives. We might recommend
> the use of virtual packages, but should not micromanage our developers with
> an outright prohibition.
I think the principle that Debian should not recommend nonfree
software is important. The situations we are discussing occur only in
a handful of cases, and my proposals do not involve unreasonable
amounts of work.
In particular, I think Steve's example is one where we should
certainly not compromise our principles just because some proprietary
software distributors are being uncooperative. Our political
opponents, with whom we are making a practical compromise, are giving
those of us who want to make that compromise a choice between
(a) advertising their program or (b) doing some extra work.
It is a longstanding tradition in Debian that those who want to work
on non-free should bear the costs of complying with our principles. I
don't think the minor cost here is worth this compromise - even some
would say that the damage to our principles is also fairly minor.