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Re: what is main?

On Thu, Jul 26, 2001 at 04:49:26PM -0600, John Galt wrote:
> On Thu, 26 Jul 2001, Steve M. Robbins wrote:
> >On Thu, Jul 26, 2001 at 01:27:12PM -0600, John Galt wrote:
> >>
> >> Policy, section 2.1.2
> >>
> >>   2.1.2 The main section
> >>
> >>    Every package in main and non-US/main must comply with the DFSG
> >>    (Debian Free Software Guidelines).
> >
> >Well, I'd say that supports my view: the "main" section is identical
> >to the set of DFSG-compliant packages that don't require non-DFSG
> >software.
> You missed the part about non-US/main's ability to include main, but not
> the reverse.

No, I didn't miss that bit.  I had lost the argument, so I tried to
finesse it.  But you (and Duncan Watson and the rest) are too sharp
for that.  ;-)

But seriously, is anyone surprised that there would be confusion about
the nuances between "The Debian Distribution", the Debian archive
"main section", "main", and "non-us/main"?  I don't think I am the
only one out there who equates them.  

> >Main is split into "US" and "non-US" parts simply for convenience of
> >US-based ftp mirror admins and CD vendors.

Let me revise that to read "The Debian Distribution is split into ...".
If I now understand the terminology correctly, that should be an accurate

This split sticks in my craw for a couple of reasons.  One is that the
name "non-us" is terrible.  What does it imply?  

One might think that the "main" version contains a program that can
only be used in the US, with an inferior version for use outside the
U.S.A. in "non-us".  [Recalling netscape's download section divided into
"domestic" and "international" versions of their browser; the domestic
one had the strong encryption.]  

Or one might think that "non-us" contained software that can only be
used outside the U.S.A.  

Neither is true.

The second reason that I find the split of "the Debian Distribution"
unfortunate is that despite Debian being an international
organization, the name somehow privileges the U.S.A.  No other
country's unique laws (munitions, patents, or otherwise) are catered
to in this way.  [I realize this kowtowing is likely for the pragmatic
reason that the master ftp site is in the U.S.A., but the distaste

Should anything be done about this?  I'm sure something should be done!
Immediately!!  But I've got other priorities, so it won't be by me.  :-)

> You have a major hole in this: there were four sections at one time,
> main, contrib, non-free, and non-US.  Non-US got split into subsections a
> couple of years ago.  Originally, there was no non-US/main, simply non-US.
> BTW, IIRC this is when the auto-pgp issue came to a head, thus auto-pgp
> went into contrib BECAUSE IT DEPENDED ON NON-US.  Not because it depended
> on non-US/main, non-US/non-free, or even non-US/ask_somebody_who_cares.
> I would like to go back a couple years with some of these revisionist
> comments and drop them at the feet of those who wanted to split non-us.
> That split was one of those ideas that the only proper way to see the
> whole of the impact is in retrospect.

That's interesting.  I had forgotten that non-us had been a single
section previously.  I don't think I was around during these "split"
discussions.  One of these days I should look them up in the archives.


by Rocket to the Moon,
by Airplane to the Rocket,
by Taxi to the Airport,
by Frontdoor to the Taxi,
by throwing back the blanket and laying down the legs ...
- They Might Be Giants

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