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Re: Contrib on official CD

On 19 Nov 1997, Jim Pick wrote:

> I think Debian should be encouraging the packaging of a non-free
> CD with the official Debian CDs.  The cases where somebody buys just
> the 2 official Debian CDs by themselves should not be common, until
> we have good replacements for Netscape, and several other commonly
> used non-free programs.

The above part sounds great.

> We should probably have a package that makes an unofficial CD that is
> recommmended to be shipped along with Debian - for the sole purpose of
> holding non-free and contrib packages so we have a commercially
> marketable distribution.

This part, IMO, is a no go: I don't think we want the potential for
liablility by choosing the non-free packages that are supposedly okay to
be shipped on CD's.  Let the third party CD maker sort out that issue

> Think about it:  when somebody is shopping for a Linux distribution, they
> aren't going to be educated in the ins-and-outs of free software licensing.
> Quite often, it will come down to who is shipping largest number of software
> packages.  If CD makers don't include the non-free stuff with Debian, people
> will buy Slackware or Red Hat.  Let's face it - very few people buy a
> Linux distribution based on quality and integration alone.  We're currently
> stuck with a "grab bag" mentality amongst the consumers.  Changing that
> requires a sophisticated marketing campaign - which none of the current
> Debian CD makers is up to yet.

Once again, I don't care one whit about whether they buy Slackware or
Redhat.  The ones who buy Slackware will eventually switch to Redhat or
Debian.  And--once again IMO--I don't feel like it is important to focus
on competition with Redhat regarding the number of users.  Quality, on the
other hand, is another issue.

> So, it's not unreasonable to force all the contrib stuff off the official
> CD - because anybody making a marketable version of Debian will have a
> non-free CD where it can go.  The nice side-effect is that we will have more
> room for the main distribution on the official CD.

Once again, Jim, I agree with this last part.  Such a policy will
encourage a CD maker to produce a non-free CD because they will
potentially see a greater profit.

Thanks.  Syrus.


Syrus Nemat-Nasser <syrus@ucsd.edu>    UCSD Physics Dept.

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