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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 08:52:00PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 11:41:03AM +0100, Michael Banck wrote:
> > > That seems reasonable, as our social contract is with the Free Software
> > > Community (according to http://www.debian.org/social_contract) and not
> > > just among ourselves.
> > Ehm, yes. So what? It's not with the non-free Software Community as you
> > stated yourself. 
> Sure; but the free software community might see benefits in making
> non-free software available -- eg, making the Debian system more useful
> in more situations, and thus getting more feedback and contributions from
> a wider base of people, and thus improving the Debian system itself. If

I agree.

The requirement for non-free packages has certainly decreased in
the last two years. For example it is no longer necessary to use 
Netscape 477 (quite undesirable in fact!).

However there are still some necessary non-free packages. Some of the 
xpdf add-on language support packages, particularly xpdf-japanese, 
xpdf-chinese-* etc are in non-free because they include CMap 
(character map) files from Adobe. Without these packages some PDF files
are unviewable with Xpdf. In fact, there is no free way to view these
files at all - gv/ghostscript includes the same files in
another non-free package, and the only other option is acroread.

I think we would be doing our users a disservice to remove support for
these languages. If we had a free alternative then by all means remove
the non-free stuff, but we don't in some cases.

The latest Xpdf (2.00) uses Motif. The binaries in the xpdf-reader
package are linked with LessTif but unfortunately it works quite a bit
better with Open Motif from non-free. For some PDFs in some locales,
Xpdf segfaults. It may be worth creating an xpdf-reader-openmotif 
package for contrib. Here's another case of no free working solution.

Hamish Moffatt VK3SB <hamish@debian.org> <hamish@cloud.net.au>

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