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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 07:56:29PM -0400, Adam McKenna wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 06:46:11PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> > How many times do I have to repeat it.
> > 
> There's no need to yell.  BTW I'm on the list.  So CC'ing me is not
> required.
> > There is NO CHANGE to our distribution by accepting this proposal.
> > The change is, at worst, to the archive and a few sources.lists.
> A change in the "distribution" is exactly what you are proposing.
> By definition, a "distribution" is the set of packages that we
> "distribute".  If we are going to stop "distributing" the packages in
> non-free, then by definition, our "distribution" will be changed.

no, he's partly right. non-free is not part of the debian distribution.
it is a collection of extra stuff which is not part of debian proper.

where he's wrong is in stating that removing non-free from our archives
is only a minor or trivial change, that it's not important. to the
contrary, removing non-free entirely would have serious negative
consequences for debian.

doing so would also destroy the educational value of having a separate
non-free area. when users look for a program and find it in non-free,
then they know that there is something wrong with their license. if it's
not in debian at all, they will just assume that debian is slack and
hasn't bothered packaging it.

if the user wants that non-free program enough, then they are likely
to use another distribution instead - one which does not make the
distinction between free & non-free that we do.  

losing that high-profile distinction would be far more damaging to the
cause of free software than including some non-free software in our
archives (in fact, i don't see that having non-free in the archives
hurts at all - it provides new users with a gentle introduction to
software freedom and a pleasant migration path from non-free software to
free software).


craig sanders

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