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Re: Contrib on official CD

Dale Scheetz <dwarf@polaris.net> writes:

> I don't see any reason to "officialize" non-free any more than it already
> is. I would be reticent to purchase CDs for redistribution that contained
> all of non-free. I don't have any problem with others taking such risks,
> but I'm not interested. I very much appreciate the existance of non-free
> as a safety feature for folks like myself.

For purely selfish reasons, I would like to see something more standard for
the non-free CD.  I am seriously considering distributing Debian CDs here
(not making them though), and I would like to see the non-free and contrib
stuff as part of a standard add-on package to make Debian more marketable.
But it should not be considered as part of the core product - which should
be 100% free.

My desire is to commoditize Debian (including contrib and non-free) as much
as possible, so it can achieve greater market penetration.  Of course, in
your position, you might not find that desirable, since you use the
"non-free" packages to differentiate your product.  In my situation, I am
more interested in selling support and consulting.  It is difficult to
recommend Debian to a client when they've never heard of it, and their
neighbor recommends Red Hat.

I don't think it's wise for the Debian project to cripple the marketability
of the official CDs by making it easy for your average commodity-oriented CD
distributor to leave contrib and non-free out of the package altogether.  We
will lose users; and if we lose too much market share, we become irrelevant.

Even though I don't think we should consider contrib and non-free as part of
our core product, they are important.  There would still be an awful outcry
if Guy went and did an "rm -rf contrib/ non-free/" on the Debian ftp server

Anybody who is making CDs and not shipping contrib and non-free on a
third CD is going to have a tough time competing - unless they've done an
awesome job of educating the consumer on the virtues of the core system.  So
far, I haven't seen anybody marketing Debian CDs that way.  Most seem content
to just take the two official CDs, and make an additional non-free one.  Or
more commonly, just cut the two official CDs - with no additional marketing.
Or even worse, sell one or two non-official CDs, and mess it up.  Or, 
horrors, sell a munched up Debian CD as part of a Linux bundle with Slackware
and Red Hat (we don't need to mention names)...

People will choose Red Hat and Slackware simply because they have more
packages, including some desirable proprietary ones.  I've read a number of
reviews where Debian loses out to Red Hat - simply based on the slickness
of the packaging and boot disks.

In short, we're losing the market share battle - at least as far as CD
sales goes.

So I don't think it would hurt us if we had a standard "unofficial" non-free
CD.  I think Bruce called for something like that to be done by an outside
party - but I got bounced from the list and I didn't catch the responses.


 - Jim

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