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Re: Steam for Linux? No thanks.

On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 7:14 PM, Dmitry Smirnov <onlyjob@member.fsf.org> wrote:
> On Thu, 21 Feb 2013 08:47:53 Jon Dowland wrote:
>> > > > Flash is bad enough indeed but there is a big difference: Steam was
>> > > > created for the only purpose -- enforcing DRM. Flash may or may not
>> > > > be used for evil while Steam was designed for evil.
>> > >
>> > > I disagree strongly with this statement here. Steam was not created
>> > > for the sake of enforcing DRM; Steam is merely a distribution channel
>> > > to make it easier for game devs to market their games to a wider
>> > > audience, and DRM facilitates that (in a twisted way).
>> >
>> > What makes you think that development of sophisticated and redundant
>> > distribution system for game binaries was justified by anything else but
>> > facilitation of DRM and centralised control over distribution?
>> >
>> > Can you support your statement with facts? I don't see how your argument
>> > is better than mine -- you've just said "no it's not".
>> We don't need facts to counteract nonsense arguments like "evil software".
> When you pick on how I use language please don't call it "counteracting
> nonsense arguments". At least this statement is not accurate neither it is
> honest. Arguments don't have to be based on facts to be valid -- they could be
> based on ethics, theory, experience, philosophy, pros/cons, best practice etc.

Of course, arguments don't have to be based on facts to be valid.
However, arguments based on strongly-voiced opinions/perceptions with
little to no factual basis tend to just devolve into inconclusive
mud-slinging. Best-case scenario is that the parties involved in the
argument just agree to disagree.

Since it's fairly obvious by now that we'll never reach a consensus on
the "ethics" of including Steam in Debian non-free, let's consider
Debian Policy instead (which I hope is the one area we can agree on).
Policy 2.2.3 [1] explicitly acknowledges the existence of the non-free
archive; the Social Contract acknowledges, the Social Contract
acknowledges that "some of our users require the use of works that do
not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have created
contrib and non-free areas in our archive for these works" [2], and
there's already been a GR [3] to re-affirm support for non-free. We
already have a sizeable non-free archive full of non-DFSG-compliant
software to provide precedent for what is considered acceptable by
ftpmasters for Debian non-free, including such "evils" as
DRM-encumbered software (flash).

I would argue that:
1) Steam is not DFSG-compliant.
2) There is demand from Debian end-users for Steam, and we provide
non-free specifically for non-DFSG compliant software.
3) Steam is not patent-encumbered nor legally indistributable.
(however, IANAL; I'm not sure where U.S. export laws may come into
4) Steam is not "so buggy that we refuse to support [it]" (we have
people who are willing to package and maintain it, as well as support
end-users through the infrastracture that Debian provides for non-free
packages, e.g. the bug tracker and the PTS).
5) Steam [meets] "all policy requirements presented in this manual
that it is possible for [it] to meet", with the constraint that it is
proprietary non-free software.

So, two questions for you:
1) Why should Steam be exempt from Debian?
2) Which sections of Policy does Steam violate such that it would be
rendered unsuitable for Debian non-free?

If you're insistent on blocking Steam from entering Debian non-free
(given that's it's already waiting in the NEW queue [4]), be prepared
to think of convincing answers for the above questions using Policy as
a framework. No need to convince me or anyone else reading this list;
you just have to be able to convince ftpmasters (and possibly the
CTTE). That, or start a huge thread in debian-devel in the hopes that
you can get enough support for a GR to get rid of Debian non-free. I
wouldn't count on that happening, however. ;)


[1] http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html
[2] http://www.debian.org/social_contract
[3] http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/vote_002
[4] http://ftp-master.debian.org/new/steam_1.0.0.28-1.html

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