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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On Thu, Jun 08, 2000 at 01:08:59AM +0400, Michael Sobolev wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 10:50:14AM -0400, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > 
> > A false alternative.  What is wrong with downloading software, as debs,
> > from some site on the site, using apt?
> Trust to the people who made the packages.  Isn't that important?  At the
> moment, we (I) may hope every piece of software that comes from *debian.org,
> can be trusted.  Every package I downloaded from elsewhere had to be checked if
> it had additional "features".  As soon as package signing (or whatever it's
> called) is implemented, I'll be able to check if the package comes from the
> maintainer, and, as result, mirrors can be easily verifiable.

And as soon as package signing is made available, what's to stop the
set of developers who care about non-free software to set up an
alternative repository for non-free, complete with lintian checks,
vetting of uploaders, and the like?  The keyring isn't secret, and
developers are able to use the key for non-Debian business if they so

> > There will always be non-free software.  Will there always be a non-free
> > section?  Will we always need one?  Do we really need one now?  Is it
> > possible for users to get their non-free software needs met through
> > non-official-Debian sources while still using the Debian operating system?
> Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Hopefully in distant (proper word?) future.

I disagree.

I use some non-free software, but increasingly that non-free software
is also commercial, with installers and the like to handle "novice
user" issues.  Most of this can't be distributed in non-free anyway
(do you think Loki would let us put a Myth II .deb there?)  

The stuff in non-free is mostly "almost-free" stuff, with some
brain-damaged licensing qualification put in to cater to some stuffed
shirt or the eccentricities of some developer somewhere.  More and
more, people are realizing that it just works best to implement the
DFSG/OSD in their license, so we're seeing less and less of that.
Plus, lots of the "almost-free" things are getting free replacements
(pine -> mutt, pgp -> gpg, ssh -> openssh, qmail -> postfix, netscape
-> mozilla, java -> kaffe, etc.)

> Well, would you mind enumerating these "real" consequences?  I do not see
> any "killer" pros here.  And I am very sorry about that, as I feel that
> a certain amount of people sees that, and it's pity as I do not understand
> their's point.

In my mind, we get several pros:

 - Bragging rights.  Even today, I hear people tell me that "you can't
function with only non-free", and they point to Debian as an example.
Like it or not, Debian is sort of the moral bellweather of the
community.  If we don't chuck non-free, very few others will have the
courage to try.

 - Security hassles.  Case in point: majordomo 1.x.

 - Disk space reduction on the archives. :-)

Not that this is an exhaustive list or anything.

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