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

Dale Scheetz <dwarf@polaris.net> writes:

> >      These include documents describing the goals of the project, its
> >      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> This is very creative reading. "Issue documents" is not the same thing as
> "Modify founding principles".
> Attempting to use this clause, issuing a statement that the Social
> Contract is no longer valid, as written, but is superceded by the current
> document is certainly possible under this constitutional interpretation.
> However, this sounds a lot more like a "Credit Card Contract" where the
> "buyer" has no rights of enforcement and is not the aggreement I signed on
> to when I accepted The Social Contract.
> Debian has made a social committment, in the form of the Social Contract.
> I am opposed to modifying these terms mearly because we find them
> difficult to accept within the context of software purity. Most of the
> packages in non-free aren't even "proprietary" in the usual M$ sense of
> the word, but are only slightly less than free for a wide range of
> reasons. The fact that it is "free enough" to post in our archives space
> puts it a long way ahead of the rest of the "proprietary" pack.

Absolutely.  The social contract that I consider myself to have signed
up to is the one we have now, not some butchered remnant of it we might
be left with if a few more General Resolution of this type are passed.

We currently have a mechanism that allows us to maintain the excellent
quality of our distribution, even outside the set of packages that
actually constitute that distribution.  Throwing that away doesn't
seem to buy us much.

Perhaps if it were possible to get a hardware platform where all the
hardware specs were open, and the bios and microcode was DFSG free, so
that you could claim that you had a purely DFSG compliant system, then
it MIGHT be worth throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Given that you cannot currently do that, it seems silly to pretend
that eliminating a few files on our archives if going to rid us of the
non-free aspects of our computing experience.

Since we are forced to put up with some non-free software, why not do
a proper job of supporting a little more.  We're doing it now, and I
don't see that it's an excessive burden.

If we were to eliminate non-free, would the developers who are
currently only maintaining non-free packages also need to be expelled?
How about if they used to maintain a package in main?

Personally, I'm moving away from supporting non-free packages (I've
passed qmail-src on to another maintainer, and I'll probably drop
ssh-nonfree after the 2.2 release), but that doesn't mean that I think
those packages should be made unavailable to people that want to use
them, and as long as anyone feels the urge to maintain them, we should
allow them to be maintained.

Cheers, Phil.

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