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Why non-free? (Was: Re: KDE)

On Wed, 10 Mar 1999, Joseph Carter wrote:

> I think Wichert is a little more reasonable than RMS in this area..  =p

To be honest, I'm beginning to doubt RMS' reasoning skills period. 
> Just because RMS wants us to completely divorce non-free and hide it from
> our users doesn't mean we'll do just that.  We can reorganize the ftp
> site it a sane manner to emphasize the difference between main and not
> main without going to extremes to hide choices from our users.

I'm in agreement. However, I'm in disagreement. I don't believe that we
should remove non-free packages from main ftp sites. Not in the least.
However, I think the *main* site for all the non-free packages should be
seperated. And not just non-free. Contrib as well. 

But this presents a naming scheme problem. Master.debian.org,
contrib.debian.org, non-free.debian.org. The last grates on me a great
deal. The more and more I think on this, non-free irritates me more and more.
WHY does it have to be non-free? 

I was working in dselect; forgot to install Apache for mrtg. ;P  My boss,
who is watching, sees me select something necessary in non-free. Looks at
me, "is that commercial? What does it cost?" 

Not everyone who's starting with Debian is familiar with the mentality.
Non-free could give a LOT of people the wrong idea. 

So, why does it have to be called non-free? It's free in the commercial
sense. And the majority of it is free to modify and use yourself.
(Redistribution of modified source/binaries really isn't that huge an
issue with me, to be honest. I'll just include a patch.) 

So, I think perhaps our goal should not be to alienate non-free, nor to
embrace it. But to at least make some attempt to not only prevent further
confusion on the part of new users, but to attempt to make it better in
any way possible. Afterall, just because it's non-free now, doesn't mean
it won't be GPL down the road.

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