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Re: Keeping non-free separate

From: Marek Michalkiewicz <marekm@i17linuxb.ists.pwr.wroc.pl>
> The problem with a separate non-free directory is that some things are
> non-free in some countries and free in others.

Yes, but it's no problem to look at the stuff in that directory and
decide what's free for your country, and put that stuff on your CD.

There was a CD manufacturer (who will remain unnamed) who put a
non-working Debian 1.0 prototype on his CD without checking - for example
he didn't try to install it on a system. Said CD manufacturer _did_,
however, avoid placing the non-free directory on his CD. So non-free
works for people who don't check. In contrast, when I made my own CD, I
checked the licenses on the non-free programs, and put most of them on
my CD after I verified that I could do so. So non-free works for people
who _do_ check.

> Instead, we could keep just one distribution
> and a list of "questionable" packages (with short explanations what is
> the exact problem with each particular package).

OK - there are some opportunities for classification here. For one,
there's the "crypto" category. Entirely illegal in France, I hear.
Then there's the software-patent category for GIF, Welch Compress,
RSA "crypto" stuff which is now infringing in not just the U.S. but
most of Europe since the U.S. became party to a patent treaty with
them. Then there's the stuff with odd licenses.

So, let's classify them, put explanations on the packages, and stick
them in one directory or a directory tree so that it's easy to find them.
Let's call that directory non-free. You can have subdirectories for the
different categories to the extent that they don't overlap.

But why mix them in with the rest of the distribution? We're not trying
to be like those other, less careful, Linux distributions. We have a
better way of organizing these programs than they do. We're going to stick
with it.



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