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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

Branden Robinson <branden@ecn.purdue.edu> wrote:

> In actual practice, with a little care -- and a little effort on the
> part of people who already maintain non-free packages -- the
> transition to a post-GR state need not be very painful for our
> users.

Do you really believe this?  How do you realize to collect all the
non-free applications on one site with the right to upload packages by
Debian maintainers and with world wide mirrors?  Or do you want to
enter one line to apt/sources.list for every single package?  I don't
like this idea, especially for new Debian users who won't understand

And what about bug tracking?  I once tried to use kscd (a nice little
audio CD player for KDE) from the kdemultimedia_*.deb.  There was a
bug in this package (wrong search path for config file), so I tried to
report this bug.  But where should I file this bug to?  I sent it to
the maintainer and to the mail address in the changelog.  But this
didn't help, I never get any response (the bug was reported more than
a year ago) nor was the bug fixed in newer versions.  The problem IMHO
is "important", so I'd like to have some bug tracking system, where I
can set the bug status accordingly, but there is no BTS for KDE
packages.  And now I fear, that the same will happen for non-free
packages and this is a step backward.

> The beauty of our packaging system, especially in conjunction with
> apt, is that we can have our "health food store", but it will be one
> in which the patron can summon the greasiest meatball sub you can
> imagine with only a word -- if he wants to.

But without debian.org as some kind of roof on this, we will lose
consistency of the packages.  There won't be someone checking whether
the non-free packages fit in the dependencies of
stable/frozen/unstable, there won't be a standard way to report bugs,
and the user has to search for all the necessary resources, before he
can _use_ his system.

I began to use Debian, because I was fed up with building and adapting
all programs myself (it takes too much time or the quality standard
will decrease).  But if non-free is removed from the debian ftp
servers and the debian BTS, this will start again: I will have to hunt
for new versions, I have to search for an responsible maintainer, I
have to keep the versions up to date myself.

Yes, I know, that this is "only non-free" and it only applies on a
very small number of packages, but I personally don't have acceptable
alternatives for all programs (at least Netscape, Acroread, JDK,
xanim,...).  And don't tell me to use Mozilla or xpdf, because they
are DFSG free.  At the moment there are no real replacements for some
of the needed features, so I still have to use the non-free programs.
So IMHO we should wait with this change until it is really possible to
replace the non-free programs with others.



 * roland@spinnaker.de * http://www.spinnaker.de/ *

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