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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On Tue, Jun 06, 2000 at 10:17:18PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> 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.

non-free software has never been Essential: yes, or Priority: Standard
(well, as I understand it. It certainly isn't now).  non-free software
is extra software that might make a Debian system more useful, and as
part of our social contract, we agree to bite our tongues and quash our
pride and make it easy for people to use this non-free software with a
Debian system.

> 2. Supporting non-free software gives nothing back to the Free
> Software community.

Supporting non-free software allows us to open a dialogue with author's
of non-but-nearly-free software, which in turn occassionally encourages
those authors to relicense their software freely. But this part of the
social contract isn't about the community.

> 3. Supporting non-free software gives nothing to Debian.

And no part of the social contract is about Debian getting things out of

The one you've missed is:

  4. Supporting non-free software gives nothing to Debian's users

This is blatantly false. Netscape versus Mozilla, Sun/Blackdown JDK versus
Jikes/Kaffe, Pine versus Mutt, Info-Zip's zip/unzip versus minizip and
miniunzip, Qmail versus Exim or Postfix, xv versus imagemagick, tin versus
slrn. There're the things for which there aren't free replacements: lha,
zoo, arj, mmix-src, snes9x, SATAN, povray.

> 5. The existance of the non-free section is being used as a cop-out by
> those that seek to peddle non-free wares.

That's nice. There's no law against peddling non-free software, and even
if there were it wouldn't be up to us to enforce it. If there's no point
to packaging it, we won't; and if someone does, clearly there is such
a point for at least one Debian user.

> 6. Most importantly: it's the right thing to do, morally.



Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG encrypted mail preferred.

  ``We reject: kings, presidents, and voting.
                 We believe in: rough consensus and working code.''
                                      -- Dave Clark

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