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FTPMaster position statement about package contents


Triggered by the discussion to include a controversial "visual novel" in
the Debian archive, we feel that a statement from the ftpteam on what is
considered acceptable for the archive is called for. The following may
be triggered by just one proposed (and in the meantime retracted)
package, but it is equally valid for a lot of other possible candidate
The packages in question may adhere to our technical standards, and may
be entirely free in any way we usually judge them - but this is not
about those standards.

This is also not a moral judgement about the content of such packages,
as that judgement does vary a lot depending on who you ask, where you
are, as well as how you were raised.

We opt instead to use a reasoning based on what might harm the project,
our mirrors, our derivatives or our users. Let us explain with some
examples what we mean by "harm our project, our mirrors, derivatives, or

As an example, child pornography or abusive material is something that
is outlawed around most of the world. In many of the countries where our
Developers live (as well as your fellow FTPTeam), you can even go to
jail for just seeing it, even if you haven't actively engaged in it, nor
did you actively search for it.  Downloading a package that contained
such material, even by mistake, might directly harm our developers and
our users; and having such files in our archive might also directly harm
the project as a whole.

As a second example, we might consider adult pornography, which, even if
legal in many countries, still usually requires a series of controls to
prevent access from underage children. Since we don't have any such
controls over the archive, let alone the mirror network, nor do we want
to impose any such controls on our derivatives, this material would not
be acceptable in our archive.

Those are just two examples - we sure could go and write down some
more. But they are examples: we can't foresee all the possible content
someone may propose.
So instead, we have a simple set of questions that should be applied,
helping to judge contents before upload:

 - Is it likely illegal in the majority of the countries of our
 - Will it harm Debian, our mirrors, derivatives or users and
   potentially endanger them or require extra work on their side to
   protect them from such?
If you can answer these questions with a yes or even a maybe - don't
upload the package to any project machine (including a VCS), let alone
the archive. If you are unsure your prospective package may be affected,
ask FTPMaster before uploading to the archive, or Debian resp. Alioth
admins before uploading to a VCS repository on Debian machines.

bye Joerg,
for the FTPMasters and FTP Team

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