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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free, Draft 2

On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 10:44:27AM -0500, Stephen R. Gore wrote:
> So far, most of the pro arguments I've seen are calm discussion,
> but many of the opposing arguments are highly inflammatory.  

If there's a flamewar in response to a post, then the original message
was inflammatory, by definition.

But here's a calm summary anyway.

 * Changing the social contract without consulting the affected parties
of the contract (in this case, in particular, Debian's user community)
is wrong. So as well as doing the GR, the proposers should also attempt
to poll or gain the consensus of debian-user, or similar.

 * Removing non-free will render contrib broken, useless or
unmaintainable. Either we'll have broken dependencies for packages in
contrib, or apt-get installing packages in contrib won't actually make
the package usable even if it does at the moment, or much of our existing
non-free software will have to be repackaged in the form of installers.

 * non-free software remains necessary to many of our users and many of
our developers, so non-free packages will continue being maintained
elsewhere without the benefits of the Debian infrastructure, needlessly
using more of our developers' time and for a worse result. Similarly,
our users will continue using non-free software, but it will be more
difficult to find, and get support for.

 * Any political benefits it may have (see John's rationale; eg,
not being in Debian encouraging non-free authors to relicense) are offset
by similar losses (eg, there not being a Debian maintainer who's motivated
to discuss relicensing with the author).

See http://www.debian.org/vote/1999/vote_0006 for when this last came up,
and, in particular, Jason Gunthorpe's summary of the "against" position.
Amusingly, it seems that the slippery slope arguments presented there
have come to fruition even without that proposal being successful.


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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