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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On Thu, Jun 08, 2000 at 05:41:21PM -0500, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 08, 2000 at 10:23:01PM +0200, Fabrice Gautier wrote:
> > I think Every Debian Users know Debian is about Free Software.
> >
> > Users are not so dumb. The existence of non-free is already a good-clue.
> Then why have a gajillion people replied to this proposal by begging
> us not to "remove Netscape from Debian"?

Maybe because they didn't chose the right words, their concern
being "don't remove Netscape debs from your archive because either
those debs will disappear or they will not be as good as those
currently in non-free and may give my installation poorer quality".

Maybe because they don't see "being about Free Software" and "Promote
Free Software" in contradiction with "providing an easy and
well-integrated way to install non-free but usefull software in my
(Free) Debian with high-quality packaging"

Maybe they don't think that Debian's goal is advocating for
free-software but rather allowing user to put in practice what they
learned from free-software advocacy. I think this is in this way Debian
help the Free Software community allowing them to use a free system as
free as They want. (but not as free as Debian want).

And Maybe they don't see Debian as only a distribution (The Debian
Distribution) but rather as an organization that produce and
distibrute a Free-Distribution (The Debian Distribution) and
distribute other non-free software in debs complying to the policy of
The Debian Distribution. 

(Ok, this is word play... )
> > And furthermore the existence of non-free means Debian make a clear
> > distinction between free and non-free. Once non-free is gone, it will
> > not be clearer that all packages are free.
> Why not?  If there is no non-free, then every package supplied by
> Debian will be free.
> > And when users will pick up
> > software from another locations they won't be abble to know if it is
> > not in Debian because it's non-free, or because it's not packaged yet
> > by an Official Debian maintener.
> If it isn't packaged, it won't matter; either way, they'll have to
> install it themselves.  If the user is interested in packaging it and
> submitting it to Debian for inclusion, (s)he will have to go through
> new-maintainer, at which point the user should be thoroughly educated
> as to the difference and why it matters

User won't be interrested in packaging! They are users. They will
install it, and maybe break their installation.

My concern is in the case users find others apt (or simply debs)
repositories.  For the moment i think that in fact Debian have almost
all the control over .deb package. Except the KDE Debs archive the
only place you can find apt-getable debs is the Debian
archives. (There also i guess some repository for commercial
distributions, but there is no confusion possible with Debian in those case)

Look at the KDE debs archive, clueless users may think this may be an
official location. With others sites like this, it will be easier for
user to get lost. Those sites may not put their packages with a
non-free section. Now a user find a apt-getable site with, for
example, netscape debs and jdk debs. He add a line in his apt
sources.list to keep in sync with the updated versions of those
packages. If this site have only a main section all the non-free
packages will be with free package in dselect or aptitude.

Look at KDE debs archives again. KDE2 debs are not in Debian not because
they aren't DFSG compliant but because there is a colision between two DFSG
compliant licences. How to make the difference between non-free
packages staying around?

While for the moment Debian have the power to label non-free packages
as non-free, keeping them in a sort of jail, it may lost this power be
letting them go into the void. A cool thing is that i don't need to
read every licence when install a Debian package. I know if it's DFSG
compliant or not looking at the section.

I think that there are technical solution to avoid this problem but
they're not addressed in this GR.  (ex; rename the main section as
debian and use the copyright (??) on the name so that other site can't
use the same section name if they're including something else than

Advocating free software doesn't seem so simple as "rm -Rf non-free"


Fabrice Gautier

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