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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

Adam Heath <adam@doogie.org> writes:

> >   woody distribution."
> Having a contrib section means part of debian will depend on non-free.  Are

No it does not.  Read the social contract.  Contrib is not part of the
Debian system.

> you implying that contrib be removed as well?  If not, then you are
> self-contractdicting.

Contrib does not necessarily depend upon non-free.  I do not therefore
make any specific proposal with regard to contrib at this time.

> Mentioning an exact code name of debian in an official document is something I
> frown upon.

I do too, but no better option immediately suggested itself.

> > B. That the non-free section be removed from woody on all Debian
> > archives, and that all packages so placed there in accordance with the
> > definition in Policy section 2.1.4 be removed from the Distribution.
> > The introduction into Debian of any package meeting the non-free
> > definition in Policy section 2.1.4, or failing the Debian Free
> > Software Guidelines, shall be permanently banned.
> All non-free sections removed, eh?  Then how can we 'continue to distribute
> non-free software previously distributed via its FTP site prior to the woody
> distribution.'?

I did not say that.  I said: removed *from woody*.  

> If non-free is removed, then a package obviously can't be placed there.  Do
> you mean to say that all packages currently in existance in non-free shall be
> removed?  If so, that contradicts with A2 above.

All packages currently in non-free in woody shall be removed.

> If non-free doesn't exist, a package can't be introduced, obviously.  If I

That clause is there to make it clear that non-free shall not be
recreated at a future time.

> upload a package to incoming, and the ftp admins, when looking over the new
> pkg, discover that it is non-DFSG, they currently reject it.  I see no reason
> to explicitly state this.
> Permanmently banning a package is bad.  This gives no leeway to the package
> becoming free in the future.

I do not permanently ban a package.  I permanently ban uploading
packages that are non-free.  If a package's license changes such that
it is free, it no longer meets Policy's definition of non-free, and
thus would be OK.  If you believe there is a potential
misunderstanding with my wording, I'd be happy to entertain
suggestions for a fix.

> > Any one of the following should at least justify the examination of
> > the issue.
> > 
> > 1. Non-free software is no longer an essential or standard part of a
> > typical installation.
> I need to say something first, to get it off my chest.  I think that you have
> a somewhat tainted view of the world.  Your primary system is alpha, not
> i386.  By being non-i386, you already limit the amount of non-free software
> that is available to you, so you don't know how useful it really can be, in a
> production, real world environment, where machines needs to talk to disparate
> worlds.

The Debian system does not contain non-free on any platform.  On ANY

While it is true that my primary home platform is Alpha, this does not
mean that I am without experience on x86 architectures.  Nor does it
in any way lessen my ability to speak about issues of Free Software.  

If you see fit to shoot the messenger on the basis of his chosen
platform, let me instead point out that people like me are obvious
proof that life without large portions of non-free is not only easily
doable, but has been done for some-time.

> > The contract is supposed to be one between us and the Free Software
> > community.  Supporting a non-free section in no way supports Free
> > Software or its community.
> No, the contract is between us and our USERS.

Dare I remind you of the title of the document?

  Social Contract with the Free Software Community

If it was a contract between us and the users, I very much suspect it
would say "Social Contract with Debian's Users" instead.

> > 3. Supporting non-free software gives nothing to Debian.
> Oh, but it does.  It gives us more users.

Oh, wait a minute.  What is this?  Are you suggesting that Debian
cares more about popularity contests than about Free Software?  Do you
advocate the elimination of our Free Software principles for the sake
of gaining "more users"?

I have news for you, Adam.  Debian was founded upon principles of Free
Software.  We have operated under them ever since.  We do not have to
bow to marketing pressures like people such as RedHat do -- we can do
what is RIGHT -- morally, ethically, and technically.  Because we do
not have to be concerned about user counts.

I dare say that running Debian as a Windows system (in whatever way)
would bring more users.  However, I also think you'd agree this would
be contrary to our principles.

Why do you advocate the abandonment of our principles simply to gain a
small amount of popularity?

> > 4. This clause was never debated when the Social Contract was created.
> It was given the chance, but no one bothered.

I did not state that the chance did not exist.

> > 5. The existance of the non-free section is being used as a cop-out by
> > those that seek to peddle non-free wares.
> Low blow.  People pkg non-free software, because they NEED it for some
> function, and a free alternative doesn't exist to fulfill their needs.

Perhaps that was the case when it was packaged.  Today, non-free is
basically cruft.

I am not talking about our maintainers either, Adam.  I am talking
about non-Debian companies that use non-free as an excuse for

-- John

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