Re: Let's not forget why many people use/contribute to Debian
> > Right and free are not the same things. The GNU project wouldn't have gone
> > anywhere if RMS decided to refuse to support proprietary platforms.
> The effort of the GNU project allows to run free software on non-free
> operating systems. This is good, because it allows that more people learn
> about free software and use it.
That part is OK, but you're just ignoring one thing: Just that
people know emacs from a Windows platform won't make most people
change to Linux.
Many (if not most) people will only be willing to switch to Linux
if they had things that would help them during their transition
If you can tell a new person that he will still be able to use
Netscape (which he is familiar with) and can still create and work
on GIF images with the gimp, than that might ease him to changing.
I know the following analogy is very far from the discussion but
still it might help illustrating my point:
If I were to drink Scottish Whisky one night and like it, I might
try it again one time or another. But I certainly won't show up
for a Whisky and Haggis next night wearing a kilt and playing
It is highly unlikely, that someone will abandon everything he
knows for one hard cut from Windows to Linux just because he'd seen
screenshots of bash(1) executing an ls(1) command.
It is more likely, that you can tempt someone into switching to
Linux or another free OS, if the switch can go gradually. And - no -
I would not for a second consider dual booting Windows [non-free
world] and Linux [free world] as a GRADUAL change, because though
the user can switch back and forth, he will only be in either the
free or non-free world.
> The question at hand is if Debian should distribute non-free software to be
> run on a free operating system. Can we agree that there is a difference?
I don't see running non-free software on a free OS as worse
compared to running free software on a non-free OS.
If there is a difference, then running non-free SW on a free OS
could be considered ideologically "better", because you rely a lot
less on non-free software.
> > I'm not against removing packages from non-free when there are free programs
> > that do everything that the non-free ones do. I'm against someone telling me
> > Mozilla is "almost good enough so I have to use it" when I want to use
> > Netscape.
> Luckily, nobody will try to tell you what to use. Your objection has nothing
> to do with the GR at hand.
That's right - the GR at hand will not forbid to use Netscape. It
will just make it more difficult to get a debianized Netscape or
leave you alone trying to install Netscape (which is not much of a
technical challenge for most people on the list; but still a
nuisance to those of us using non-free software). And while
techno-savvy people will not have much trouble with that, trying to
win a newbie over to Linux will be a lot more difficult, once you
tell him what is neccessary to install Netscape on Linux BY HAND.
BRAIN, n. An apparatus with which we think what we think. That
which distinguishes the man who is content to _be_ something from
the man who wishes to _do_ something. [...] In our civilization,
and under our republican form of government, brain is so highly
honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.