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Re: Can we do without non-free?

The replies to this topic were amazingly consistant and really good (IMHO).

Some additional thoughts that occurred to me about this "non-free" problem

Many packages are "non-free" because the author does not understand the
copyright process.  In some cases the author might be intentionally
restricting the software but would not if they understood fully the
extent of the effect of their "minor restriction".

Some packages that were originally "non-free" have become DSFG
compliant.  While I don't know the reasons I can suspect that pressure
from the user community was a factor (including rational discussions
about why the author might be better off in the "free" catagory).
I also would not be at all surprised if organized support of the
quality of the author's work through such systems as Debian BTS could
well have been a major factor.

If we really promote free software then the sort of support that is
provided for Debian "non-free" software by the Debian community is
certainly a fine tool to demonstrate to the author(s) that the free
software community can be trusted to maintain and even improve the 
software's quality.

On Thu, Aug 20, 1998 at 01:14:08PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> Hi,
> >>"Joop" == Joop Stakenborg <stakenborg@HYPH.AZR.NL> writes:
>  Joop> Here is my point: we want to distribute FREE software. Why do
>  Joop> we need to have a non-free section?
> 	Because we do not require our users to have the same beliefs
>  as we do. We are tolerant. We are not fanatics. We recognize that our
>  users have different needs and agendas than we do (or they would not
>  be using Debian, they would be creating their own distribution).
> 	We like users, and we are tolerant of othewr beliefs. Enough
>  that we support the need for the users to use non-free software.
>  Joop> What packages from non-free do we really need?
> 	All of them, and some that have not yet been packaged.
> 	manoj

           b.leach@usa.net  LinuxPC@Hotmail.com
from a 1996 Micro$loth ad campaign:
"The less you know about computers the more you want Micro$oft!"
         See!  They do get some things right!

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