Re: freedom-subtracted.debian.org (was: Re: KDE)
On Thu, 11 Mar 1999, Jules Bean wrote:
> On Thu, 11 Mar 1999, Dale Scheetz wrote:
> > 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.
> 1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software
> We promise to keep the Debian GNU/Linux Distribution entirely free
> software. As there are many definitions of free software, we include
> the guidelines we use to determine if software is "free" below. We
> support our users who develop and run non-free software on Debian,
> we will never make the system depend on an item of non-free software.
This is all true, and the fact that it seems to contradict other sections
is probably the cause of all the confusion on this issue.
> We promise to keep it entirely free software? Sounds to me like contrib
> and non-free aren't part of Debian..
> 5. Programs That Don't Meet Our Free-Software Standards
> We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of programs
> don't conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have created
> "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our FTP archive for this software.
> The software in these directories is not part of the Debian system,
> although it has been configured for use with Debian. We encourage CD
> manufacturers to read the licenses of software packages in these
> directories and determine if they can distribute that software on
> CDs. Thus, although non-free software isn't a part of Debian, we
> support its use, and we provide infrastructure (such as our
> bug-tracking system and mailing lists) for non-free software
This paragraphs seems to be self contradictory, and certainly glosses over
Debian provides the infrastructure. Debian developers are the only ones
allowed to place packages in these sections. The "Official" CD that was
produced, shortly after the DFSG was ratified by the developers, included
the contrib section.
Both historic precedents, and current practices, argue against the
statements in the social contract that state otherwise.
If these sections are _truely_ not a part of Debian, as you and the above
paragraph imply, then why are Debian developers involved in the project at
all? Why aren't these sections maintained by some other organization? Why
does policy apply to these sections as strictly as it does to main?
The Debian Group _does_ provide these "less than free" sections in the ftp
archives. It has always been my position that those archives _are_ the
distribution provided by Debian.
My memory reaches back farther than the creation of this document. My
impression is that we have historicly and presently treated both contrib
and non-free as both a "part of Debian" and as "not part of the main
distribution". I am certainly willing to admit that this is a
selfcontradictory attitude that leads to confusion.
On a personal note, I have not used, or distributed either contrib or
non-free (with the exception of pine, personally) in quite some time, and
would not miss it if it were gone. That doesn't mean that I am willing to
throw it all away either. The contents of those directories are decided by
Debian policy, and created by Debian developers. Insisting that we have
nothing to do with them is just not realistic.
_-_-_-_-_- Author of "The Debian Linux User's Guide" _-_-_-_-_-_-
aka Dale Scheetz Phone: 1 (850) 656-9769
Flexible Software 11000 McCrackin Road
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