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Re: Debian's ultimate size (was Re: Debian & BSD concerns)

John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org> writes:

> Jim Pick <jim@jimpick.com> writes:
> > RMS wants us to adopt the GNU philosophy entirely, and strive for a
> > completely copylefted future where proprietary software would be shut
> > out.  It's a nice vision, but it's fundamentally at odds with what
> > Debian has actually been doing.  We're a bit too greedy to look a gift
> > horse (e.g. BSD licensed software) in the mouth.  I think that's the
> > reason for the GNU/Debian split in the first place.
> Are you seriously advocating that we compromise on the principles that
> have bought us this far because of some mythical "developer
> enthusiasm"?  Suffice it to say that I do not share this opinion!

Huh?  I said nothing of the sort.  All I was arguing for is to stick
to the DFSG.

My point was that the DFSG is "greedy", as far as free software
licensing goes.  Debian doesn't really occupy the high moral ground
(even though some people think that we do).  Otherwise, we'd have
stricter guidelines and much less software.

The DFSG does draw the line at proprietary software, as we all know.
That's good.  We drew that line for practical reasons - the software
with more restrictive licenses (like Qt) tend to be unmaintainable.
This would place limits on the size and growth of the distribution if
we had to mess around with dumb licenses that don't meet the DFSG
standard.  We're greedy, face it.  :-)
> I view non-free as a somewhat necessary evil while we wait for
> equivolent free software to pop up to provide the functionality of
> some of those things.

I wasn't talking about non-free at all.

I was talking about people who try to kill off ideas for cool new
Debian ports based on the argument that Debian is "getting too big".

> We already have the functionality of the kernel, so I am unsure what
> we gain by going with something with a worse license.

Calling it a "worse license" is a matter for considerable debate.
Debian (as defined by the DFSG) finds BSD licensed stuff to be
perfectly acceptable.  I don't see why a kernel is any different.  Are
we discussing rewriting the DFSG again?  If so, I'm dropping out of
this thread.

(Personally, I like the choice of the GPL better than the BSD license,
 just because it fosters a more "open" community where there are fewer
 people trying to "make a buck".  It's a matter of personal taste though,
 best left to the upstream authors.)

> I would be much less unhappy if we were to add support for a GPL'd
> kernel!  (mklinux anyone?)  I would probably still view it as
> unnecessary (depending on the particular kernel) but I would not be
> opposed to it.

The post to which you are replying to had nothing to do with licensing
whatsoever.  It was about the eventual size of the distribution.  It
was only peripherally about which kernels we choose to allow ports
for.  Could you leave that discussion to the other thread, please?
That's why I changed the subject.


 - Jim

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