Corrected message ?
I already sent a reply to Marcus and another to Manoj - don't know whether
these also made it back to debian-devel as they should.
We have a "pure" Debian distribution which is restriction free and can
be freely distributed. It's called main.
Contrib is not in main precisely because it depends on non-free packages
for functionality. The code is GPL - I can use the old Netscape installer -
but I must ftp the binary from Netscape. Given a contrib CD, I can't do
anything with it without non-free.
Non-free is non-free.
Non-US is a misnomer, as stated earlier: what I wanted to do was to
emphasise that the Debian distribution is essentially "main".
I think you can divide Debian into two: main == absolutely unrestricted,
absolutely free in DFSG terms, free for redistribution, not needing
anything outside itself for functionality.
Everything else is to some extent not free in each of the above senses:
contrib and non-free and non-US each have some restrictions. Although
the code in some packages in non-US may be DFSG free (such that these
would be OK for main) government restriction means its not fully free:
in each of the above three senses. If Manoj is sitting in the States
and is developing and exporting e.g. PGP he might be liable to
government action, whatever his views of that. It may be free software
- but he's not at liberty to use it freely and redistribute it by
I do think that there are situations where it's difficult to draw
the free/non-free line. I think _only_ main is unconditionally free
for use - if I were giving someone a set of Debian CD's, I could give
them main knowing that main is self consistent and complete in itself.
I'd like to see a "Restricted" tag rather than non-US (and a clear
explanation of why contrib is contrib, that it requires non-free
software for functionality).
Yes, I have read the DFSG: sorry for extending the flamewar.