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

On Thu, 11 Mar 1999, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:

> Hi,
> On Wed, Mar 10, 1999 at 11:00:50PM -0500, Dale Scheetz wrote:
> > > 
> > > ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/stable/main
> > > ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/stable/contrib
> > > ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/stable/non-free
> > > 
> > > This implies that all three are equal, which is not the message we want to
> > > give.
> > 
> > You can read anything you wish into the above, but if they are "equal",
> > then there would be no reason for the division, they would all just go
> > into main. The subcatagorization here is of stable distributions.
> But only "main" is our distribution. contrib and non-free is not part of the
> Debian distribution (in the sense that main is). This is a fact that could

FUD. The Debian group manages, and distributes, main, contrib, and
non-free. Each of these distributions are created by Debian developers who
consider them important to the completeness of the distribution. Saying
that they aren't part of Debian is a mistake.

> be stressed by having either a virtual domain that does essentially pointing
> to the normal ftp achive with symlinks but leaves contrib and non-free out.
So the clueless user will never be able to find them?

> I do not even request that any existing domain name changes. I would only
> wish that we ADD a virtual domain where contrib and non-free are simply not
> there. official.debian.org for example. People who don't like it could use
> ftp.debian.org as they do now.

Why should we eliminate part of the distribution and then call it

> > We make
> > a clear distinction about non-free, that is not ambiguous to most folks.
> > Making the distinction helps clarify the difference between Free and
> > non-free, for anyone who cares to read the licenses involved.
> > 
> > You don't "teach" people about the difference between good and evil, by
> > only talking about good (or evil, for that matter). In fact, most
> > educational studies show that negative examples, with a few positive
> > examples, inform the student faster than giving only positive examples.
> > 
> > By making a clearly separate place for non-free software, we provide
> > examples of licenses that fall short of being free. We do no interfere
> > with the installation of these packages in our user's systems, by
> > providing proper Packages files for those archives. This seems to me to be
> > correct according to our Social Contract.
> You are defending the existing structure very convincing and very hard, too.
> Now, can you also respect that some purists like me would enjoy a virtual
> domain where contrib and non-free is just not accessible? Is your tolerance

I have no problems with this, unless you insist that Debian should provide
the FSF definition of pure. Debian is _not_ the FSF, and we have other
concerns to deal with.

RMS has indicated that he would be willing to set up the additional
"restricted" domains. Why not take him up on it?

> huge enough to accept adding such a virtual domain, which doesn't harm
> anyone, especially not existing infrastructure?
> I don't argue anything you said above, but it is not the only way to see it.

It has always been so with Debian. The current energy to change this goes
counter to our Social Contract.

> Just as an example, the current situations seems to make some users not to
> think about free software at all, because they don't realize they are
> installing non-free software. It is very convenient to just press return on
> the dependency resolution screen. However, this is only a side issue. We can
> avoid such a discussion when we support both needs, the purists need and the
> common user need. I am not asking for a one-sided solution.

We already have a two sided solution.

The dependency screen issue is a straw man. That problem (main packages
refering to non-free) has already been dealt with, hasn't it?

Clueless users don't ever constitute a good argument for doing anything.
If users can't be bothered to understand the details of what they are
doing, they aren't going to be able to make much use of Debian in any

This is a political issue, not a technical one. You side with Richard on
the issues of purity, but Debian has historicly served a broader market
than that. I don't blame you for your position, as you are certainly
welcome to take the "pure" position, however Debian is defined to be
somewhat broader than that pure system you desire. That broader
perspective still supports your desire for a pure system by segregating
everything else outside of main. If we didn't support the pure system,
then contrib and non-free could simply be incorporated into main. This
would, obviously, be a mistake from both our perspectives.


_-_-_-_-_-   Author of "The Debian Linux User's Guide"  _-_-_-_-_-_-

aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (850) 656-9769
      Flexible Software              11000 McCrackin Road
      e-mail:  dwarf@polaris.net     Tallahassee, FL  32308

_-_-_-_-_-_- If you don't see what you want, just ask _-_-_-_-_-_-_-

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