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Re: Non-free, Contrib and CDs (Was Re: GNU Win32? Not anymore.)

Bill Mitchell <mitchell@mozcom.com>:
>> My concern centers more around the "non-free" name than anywhere else.
>> As I understand it from the Debian Policy Manual, "non-free" means,
>> in this usage, something like "not freely redistributable".

Bruce Perens:
>"Non-free" means that the license does not conform to the "Debian Free
>Software Guidelines" which we published recently. If there is another usage
>in Christian's draft version of the manual at
>http://fatman.mathematik.tu-muenchen.de/~schwarz/debian-policy/draft/ ,
>please tell him and he'll fix it.
>"Contrib" means the package complies with the free software guidlines
>except that source is not available, or it is in some way not desirable
>to put the package in the release.

But this is not what the Social Contract says:

    We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of programs
    that don't conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have
    created "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our FTP archive for this

...which is saying that "contrib" is for non-free software, as well
as "non-free".

Actually, this is probably just a typo in the Contract: we have the
"non-free" area for "non-free" software; "contrib" contains free
software (meets the Guidelines) which we don't want to be formally part
of Debian.

It might be better to explain it in these terms:  there is a
distinction between the Guidelines (which define what is free and
non-free) and the Policy (which defines what may be Debian and what may
not be Debian).  Everything which is Debian is free, and everything
which is non-free is non-Debian, but there may be free, non-Debian
software.  This is what goes in "contrib".

But even this doesn't agree with current practice.  The guidelines say
that software must include source code to be free, but we have software
in contrib without source code.

Bruce says we must not unduly make judgments on the licenses of
software or we could be accused of giving unqualified legal advice.  If
this is so, I think we must only classify software strictly by our
Guidelines and Policy, and not make the exceptions (for no-source code
packages) that currently form part of "contrib".

--Charles Briscoe-Smith
White pages entry, with PGP key: <URL:http://alethea.ukc.ac.uk/wp?95cpb4>
PGP public keyprint: 74 68 AB 2E 1C 60 22 94  B8 21 2D 01 DE 66 13 E2

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