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Re: Comments on Debian packages and installation

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote:
> Bleh. Can we /please/ move this to -devel? 


On Mon, Jan 18, 1999 at 12:00:17AM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> > Also, in our social contract we say that packages in contrib are
> > not a part of Debian, but then we go ahead and create official links
> > in official packages which indicate that some contrib packages are
> > a part of Debian.
> > 
> > We should either get rid of Suggests: links from main to contrib, or
> > we should spell out that Suggests: links aren't really a part of Debian
> > (or some other sort of change to the social contract).

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote:
> The relevant portions of our social contract are:
>       1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software
>       4. Our Priorities are Our Users and Free Software
> and   5. Programs That Don't Meet Our Free-Software Standards


> So our goals are:
> 	* make a working, completely free system. ie, main.

You're saying that the Suggests: links are not an official part
of Debian?

> 	* add some support infrastructure for non-free software, to make
> 	  it easy to use non-free software if our users want to.
> We've done this.

The current infrastructure requires that main contains links to stuff
that's not in main.  A better (more in line with our social contract)
infrastructure would allow those links to reside outside of main.  The
technical side of this is being addressed by Ian Jackson.

The only problem is that some people are suggesting that the current
solution is politically better.


> The only problem is that our completely free system can annoy some
> of our users who specifically never ever want to hear about non-free
> software ever again.

No, the problem is that when a user is selecting packages in our
completely free system it presents packages which are not a part
of Debian.  This is a technical flaw: we've already decided that the
system is supposed to be completely free, but the user interface isn't
informed of this decision.

> It seems to me, that what we want to do is give our users some way of
> Saying "I only want to be told about free software". We already come
> close to this, since we can remove non-free (and contrib) from our apt
> (or dpkg-foo) sources list.


> But one of the key points in our social contract is that while we're
> free-software fanatics, we're not free-software bigots, and while we
> don't want to encourage it, we *will* help our users get their jobs
> done, even if they have to use non-free software to do it. 


> Removing suggestions completely seems to go against that.

That's a straw man.  We're talking about replacing some Suggests:
with Enhances:

> Personally, I don't think moving solely to enhances: is the way to
> go either -- it makes it too difficult for people to say `unzip is
> helpful for making boot-floppies', and so on. Technical decisions are
> meant to make life easier.

Eh?  The only place where boot-floppies seems to use "unzip" is in
/usr/src/boot-floppies/Makefile -- here it seems that, after the user
is supposed to download some stuff from our ftp site, the makefile uses
"unzip" to extract some things from a zip archive.

The real question is: why isn't that stuff also available in some
alternative format?  Why have we chosen to distribute information only
in a format that's not usable by people who only use DFSG Debian?


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