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Re: My position, a little more precisely

On Sat, Jun 17, 2000 at 12:35:54PM -0700, Jim Lynch wrote:
> > Thus, although non-free software isn't a part
> > of Debian, we support its use, and we provide infrastructure (such as
> > our bug-tracking system and mailing lists) for non-free software
> > packages.
> Here's the big problem... I may -use- non-free software, but I don't want
> to give it anywhere near the same amount of time and effort as I would 
> a free alternative.

This argument doesn't cut very deep, because the goal of the Debian project
is something different than the objective of a single maintainer.
The Debian project as a whole can support non-free without any single
maintainer supporting it.

Of course, we run into trouble if there won't be any maintainer who wants to
support non-free :)

However, your concern is sound if there ever occurs a situation where work
is imposed on you in your duty as the maintainer of a free software package
because of a non-free package (for example because a conflict has to be
resolved, or a compatibility issue arises). Of course, nobody can force
you to do something about it, but it seems with the status quo you can't
object if someone else is willing to do the changes in an appropriate manner.

> My primary objection here is with the word "support",
> because I do -not-, and do not want to ever be forced to by this phrase.
> I suggest the following rewording:
>    Thus, although non-free software isn't a part of Debian, there are
>    some Debian maintainers who support its use. There are also some who
>    do not. It is -not- necessary for any particular debian maintainer to
>    agree to be supportive of non-free software in any way whatsoever.
>    Having said that, it -is- allowed of a debian developer to support
>    non-free software. This Social Contract does NOT specify what form
>    that support might take.

As the latter sentence indicates, the social contract should not spell out
the duty of individual maintainers. The constitution does, to some extend,
and so do the policy manuals. Maybe there is some other place where such a
clarification can be added (which also has the positive side effect that
changing the developers reference or the policy manual is less controverse
than changing the social contract)?

> Also, unless I absolutely cannot do without some item of non-free
> software, I won't be finding bugs in it nor reporting bugs I do find
> by accident or mistake. Not if I was the last debian developer on the
> planet. Either I choose to, or I don't have to.

I think what people say about it is that it is okay for any single developer
to ignore non-free completely.


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org Check Key server 
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http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Marcus.Brinkmann/       brinkmd@debian.org

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