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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

>>"Branden" == Branden Robinson <branden@ecn.purdue.edu> writes:

 Branden> I think you misunderstand the point of the GR.  The point is
 Branden> *not* to make non-free software difficult to use.

 	Interesting. But whether it is the ``point'' or not, it would
 make non-free software more inaccessible, and harder for users t get;
 it won't have pointers on the Debian web pages, it shall not be
 available to satisfy dependencies in DFSG packages, and, most critical of
 all; the services of the BTS shall not be available.

 	You assume that the value added by Debian is worthless; but it
 is not so. Removing non-free would indeed make the software that
 currently resides in Debian harder to get, and worse maintained. 

 	Don't you love polititcs?

 Branden> Non-free .deb packages will continue to exist.  They just
 Branden> wouldn't be hosted on official Debian mirrors.  A parallel
 Branden> mirror network could be set up, and the mirrors that
 Branden> currently opt-in to non-free could opt-in to that.  We might
 Branden> need to implement the long-discussed "Origin:" or similar
 Branden> field in dpkg.  A separate BTS would need to be set up for
 Branden> the non-free packages.  The automatic bug reporting tools
 Branden> might need to be made aware of these alternative bug
 Branden> systems.

	The effort required would be of a magnitude nearly rivalling
 that of Debian itself, (finding sponsors, and hardware, co-loc,

 	It is naive to assume that these efforts would not detract
 from Debian; if developerrs make these efforts, which could be going
 towards Debian itself, but redirected towards the new non-free,
 Debian would suffer, for the work involved would be increased greatly
 (in other words, the resources required to carry non-free together
 with the rest are less than those required to separate it).

	I find these statements here deceptive (and this is one of the
 things about this GR that leaves a faint distaste in my mouth). You
 must know that this GR would make non-free packages less accesible --
 and yet you are here with ``but it does not need to be so'' arguments
 when confronted with that possibility. 

 Branden> *All* of these changes are in fact innovations that don't
 Branden> have anything to do with non-free software.  Rather, they
 Branden> acknowledge the success of the Debian package format.  Look
 Branden> at Corel and Stormix.  We don't get their bug reports --
 Branden> where do they go?  We don't ship Corel and Stormix
 Branden> .debs...where do they come from?  Obviously these are
 Branden> problems that have already been solved.  We can put support
 Branden> for alternative sources and support networks for .deb
 Branden> packages in our official tools.  Yes, it will require a
 Branden> little bit of effort.

 	Yes, solved by people other than us -- solved by companies
 that may not care as much about the quality of the distribution as we

 Branden> The General Resolution is not a ban on making .deb packages
 Branden> of non-free software.  Such a ban could not be enforced.
 Branden> The license on dpkg does not tell you what you can and
 Branden> cannot package with it.

 	Yeah, right. We just make sure that people supplying non-free
 packages that they deem useful to Debian and the users must jump
 through hoops, but we do not prevent them from doing so. Of course,
 none of the packages shall have the impramatur of Debian, but that
 makes no difference to the utility of Debian or the quality of the
 add-on packages. Yeesh.

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Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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