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Re: freedom-subtracted.debian.org (was: Re: KDE)

On Wed, 10 Mar 1999, Ian Keith Setford wrote:
> Implies to whom? This sounds like an assumption to me.  My opinion, which
> matters only to me, is that some sort of research should be afforded to
> this question before a move is made.  The direction of Debian seems to
> be muddled again.  Is Debian to become an OS by the developers for the
> developers or by the developers for the users.  Free software fits into
> either one of those scenarios but if non-free or contrib software is
> "bastardized" further the latter scenario is eliminated. 

You're conflating two things by assuming users do not care about licenses.
The message of Debian is that users should care about licenses, even if
they aren't developers and thus typically don't see them or deal with them
or know what impact they have on software development. Because licenses
affect what sort of software you get and what you can do with it. (Not to
mention that many users are also developers.)

Not all users order their priorities the way you do, and frankly it is
irrelevant what percentage order them that way - even if 95% don't care
about licenses, Debian is for the remaining 5%. It is our belief that in
the long run, keeping things 100% free will be better for users. 

You didn't say this, but I am amused by the people who say "I (or "my
friend") am put off by the politics, so I'm not going to use Debian, I
just use what works." Which is clearly a political decision (opposition to
an all-free system) superceding a technical one (whether Debian is a good
system despite the politics). 

"Too political" is invariably a code-word for "I disagree for reasons I
don't care to defend." Since you have to take a political stance on
licenses, if only "I like them all."

> Personally, I use what _works_.  That is why I run Debian but I do use
> non-free software because for some things it is better.  Same reason I
> still run a Windows box.  I need Excel and nothing in the Linux world even
> comes close.

But that does not mean Debian should encourage that non-free software or
stop trying to get equivalent free software working. It just means that
now in the short term you use it. Which is a fine thing, but not a basis
for a forward-thinking policy.

If the developers did not care about licenses, you would not have any free
software at all. So don't encourage us not to care. If you really don't
care, you can send me a check for some of my code, and I'll send you a
copy of it with a nice restrictive license slapped on there. Shrink wrap
and everything. ;-)

I'm not picking on you by the way, just wanted to make my little speech
and your email was close-by. :-) Thanks for the kind words you had at the


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