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Re: Seconded, sponsored. (was Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free)

On Fri, Jun 09, 2000 at 01:38:48AM -0400, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Craig Sanders <cas@taz.net.au> writes:
> > this needs a magic wand to fix properly. we don't have one. nobody
> > has one...and even if we had one, it wouldn't make any difference
> > in the long run as the next generation will be born just as stupid
> > and error-prone as the current one. people aren't very smart,
> > accept that fact and move on to something important, something it's
> > possible to change.
> Here are two ways to solve that problem:
> Install vrms on Debian systems by default.

why? while i think that vrms is a good and useful piece of software,
i can also see that those who don't approve of it would see it as
irritating nag-ware. i don't see any need to spam our users by
automatically installing software that nags them with a moralising

if people choose to install it, that's fine. if not, then it's spamware.

(the obvious response "just tell people to uninstall it of they don't
like it" deserves about as much respect as "this is not spam, click here
to unsubscribe")

> Only put `main' in the default sources.list.


non-free software won't go away just by pretending it doesn't exist.
sticking your head in the sand (and worse, forcing everyone else's head
into the sand with you) wont help at all.

in order to know what non-free functionality needs to be duplicated, you
need to know what non-free packages are available. having a non-free
section in debian helps with this.

apart from all the other good reasons for leaving non-free as it is,
there are a couple of examples of packages whose licenses have changed
because the author didn't want their software to be a "second class
citizen" in debian, and there have also been a few non-free programs
which have been cloned because people were exposed to them by debian
packages and wanted a truly free version.

these are instances of free software which only exists because of
the presence of the non-free section in debian's archives.

i'd say that, contrary to what john's proposal states, this is proof
that non-free's existence in debian actually HELPS the cause of free
software, it doesn't harm it.

> > no, that can never happen. non-free can't hold up the release either
> > directly or indirectly - nothing in main depends on anything in
> > non-free, and non-free isn't part of the release.
> This is good to hear.  That's what I originally thought, but people
> opposed to removing non-free from the FTP site started saying how it
> would damage the integrity of the release; that parts of `main' like
> libc5 might get dropped, and so forth, which sounded like the release
> might get held up in theory to make sure that such things didn't
> happn.  

if libc5 did get dropped, that would break some package in non-free. it
is certainly possible for changes in main to harm non-free packages. but
it's not possible for non-free packages to harm main.

> It could be that I'm still confused, so if you would write more on
> this issue it would help me.

there are dependancies from non-free to main, but none from main to
non-free. nothing in main may ever depend on anything outside of main -
that's part of the definition of main.

we have a contrib section which holds free packages which depend upon
things outside of main. any such package that would otherwise qualify
for inclusion in main goes here.


craig sanders

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