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Re: Migration of non-free packages to testing

On Mon, Nov 11, 2002 at 04:11:39PM +0000, Darren Salt wrote:
> I demand that Philipp Wolfer may or may not have written...
> > I would love to see all non-free packages be replaced by free
> > equivalents, but at the moment that's not the case.
> Whether it will ever be the case, I don't know; take, for example,
> spectrum-roms. Either somebody's going to have to come up with
> suitable free ROM images

(which would essentially need to be identical to the originals,
considering how much Spectrum software grovelled around in ROM

> or it will need to be replaced by a script which fetches the images
> from some other FTP or web site (possibly one of a selection). OTOH,
> Amstrad allow the distribution of the ZX Spectrum ROM images...

I think this nicely illustrates that there are major qualitative
differences between various classes of packages in non-free. Netscape is
in one class; it can have a free replacement (and indeed now has several
excellent free replacements). spectrum-roms can basically never be free
software - even if the copyright holders wanted it to be, they've lost
the source code.

> My position on this is that non-free should be kept with individual
> autobuilder admins deciding whether to autobuild non-free packages (given a
> blacklist of packages which can't be autobuilt for legal reasons).

I fully agree. In particular, the example you chose is Architecture: all
and so doesn't put any load on the autobuilders anyway. Its function is
to make contrib packages - free software in themselves, but with
unavoidable non-free dependencies - more useful.

I suppose you could replace it with a contrib installer. It would be
technically inferior and more of a pain to maintain, but strictly
speaking possible. That would just be kludgy sophistry to avoid the
appearance of non-free, though.

Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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