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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On 7 Jun 2000, John Goerzen wrote:

> Adam Heath <adam@doogie.org> writes:
> > 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.

So contrib is not part of debian like non-free is not part of debian.  Let's
remove that then.

Let's remove sid while we are at it, as that is not part of debian.

Let's remove unstable, as that hasn't been released yet, so it not part of

Where do we stop with the purging?  Let's continue on with the book burning.

> > 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.

Contrib depends on things outside of debian.  This implies non-freeness.  So
mentioning contrib in ANY debian document implies debian knows about and
endorses non-free, by proxy.

> > 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.

So don't mention it at all.  Remove 'woody' from the text.

We can have stable(potato) and unstable(woody) versions of the document.  Or
do you suggest retroactively modifying all copies?

> > 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*.  

Yes, you did say that.  Note the use of ' to deliniate a quote that you made.

> > 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.

I think that is political wording(the original email), and it confuses the

> > 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.

Yes, there is confusion.  You need to restate it.

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

I say that the debian system does contain free software.  If it didn't, then
we wouldn't have non-free and contrib on our servers.

(insert point about qmail here)

> 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.  

I didn't mean to say that alpha was your only system.  I said primary.  RMS
doesn't use non-free software(I'm almost certain about that).  Yet, how many
times has RMS been ignored in public circles because of his opinions on
non-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.

Point.  But think of what you COULD accomplish with non-free software? :)

> > 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


> > > 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?

Embrace, extend, pummel into the ground.

Give the incoming flood of new users familiar software.  Let them compare it
to free software.  Improve the free software.  They will eventually switch.

Can you see the point where a suit(s) would choose debian, because of the
availability of some package that was non-free?

No, I don't advocate abandonment.  But debian needs to grow, and grow without
bounds(Jason, don't say anything about the archive size, please).  Having
non-free software allows us to get a foot in the door, after which we can
drown out the enemy(the suit(s) wanting to pay for software).

> > > 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.

I didn't say you said that.

> > 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.

Proof is the burden of the accuser, imho.

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