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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> writes:

>  John> You are arguing against the DFSG here, not the Social Contract.  If
>  John> you perceive a problem in the DFSG wrt this topic, the appropriate
>  John> place to take it up is with the DFSG and not with the Social Contract
>  John> or Policy.
> 	No, I don't think so. I find the DFSG to be perfectly fine
>  here; the programs bgelong in non-free. And I think I am arguing for
>  the us to continue to have non-free hosted on our sites, and
>  supported in the BTS. We add value to these programs, and this value
>  is a useful add-on  for our users.

We have never valued them.  If we had, they would have been
distributed on our CDs.  We are about Free Software.  We are not about
providing a crutch for software with bad licenses.  It's time that
people learn that they can't get onto Debian's mirror network merely
by being "close" to Free.  They have to be Free.

> 	Who is being compelled? And why are you asking the work that
>  Debian developers put in in packaging programs they think enhance
>  Debian and make it better, just because you have rigid black and
>  white ideas about what you consider acceptable?

Not sure what you're saying...  "why are you asking the work..."
People are free to package whatever they want.  Debian is able to
exercise control over what it distributes.

And please stop trotting out this red herring of discrimination.
There is always discrimination.  We discriminate now between non-free
and main.

We are about Free Software.  It does Free Software no good for us to
be distributing non-free software on our mirror network.

>  John> At one time, one may have argued that we needed to support a non-free
>  John> section in order to have a complete and coherent system.  As discussed
>  John> in #1, this requirement does not today exist.
>  >> 
>  John> None of these ship with Debian now.  All are available frmo other
>  John> sources.  Why should we be compelled to make non-free software
>  John> available from us, even though it's not part of our dist?
>  	We package them as .debs. We provide the archive sites. We
>  provide the BTS. We do the work. Even though these packages are not
>  part of the distribution, debian developer add value. They make these
>  packages more useful for our users, and by extention, they make
>  debian more useful as well. 

They do not make the Debian system more useful; the Debian system does
not use them.

I would further question whether there is any added utility at all.
These are non-free, and by legitimizing that fact, there is less of an
impetus to either change the license or create Free versions.

>  John> 5. The existance of the non-free section is being used as a cop-out by
>  John> those that seek to peddle non-free wares.
>  >> 
>  >> Heh. Bigotry revealed.
>  John> Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that it may be you that are
>  John> guilty of this.
> 	Please elucidate. What bigotry exactly am I guilty of?

You automatically assume that I am bigoted.  That attitude is exactly
what you were accusing me of.

>  John> And we shall continue doing so.  Read it carefully.  We said that we
>  John> created non-free.  We did not say that it was a permanent resource.
>  John> We said we'd support the use of that software; we still will.  We did
>  John> not say that we would distribute it for them forever and ever.
>  	Clintonian speech. We are removing all packages, and all BTS
>  support, but we are continuing to support non-DFSG software. Yeah,
>  right.  And when we said we shal support you, we never said for how
>  long. We just meant. we promise to do something until we change
>  our minds. 

This proposal does not mention the BTS.

We are continuing to support the use of non-free software.  This is
mentioned in the revision.  This means that we will not put roadblocks
in place to people using something like WordPerfect on Debian, or
Netscape, or whatever.  We can still have installers for these things
in contrib.  People can still install their own non-free software on

Where's the fundamental shift?  We are making a technical shift based
on licensing.  It is unfortunate that this particular technical detail
was written into the Social Contract at all.  Had that document been
better written, this could have been accomplished without any
modifications to it and probably without a General Resolution.

However we have to deal with that which is handed us.  Let me give you
another example: the Social Contract mentions that non-free is on our
FTP archive.  It is not inconceivable that FTP will be so totally
obsolete in a few years that we will want to drop it entirely.  Should
we be required to maintain an FTP archive of non-free in that
circumstance, simply because FTP was the best way to do it in 1997?

The Debian constitution specifically contemplates the use of a General
Resolution for this type of task.  Let us not hide behind an
ill-placed sense of absolutism.  Let us instead stand up for the cause
of Free Software that we have been devoted to for all these years, and
take yet another stand against proprietary and non-free software.
This is the best way to make the distribution better.

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