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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 08:31:41PM -0600, Chris Lawrence wrote:
> On Nov 12, John Goerzen wrote:

> > Remember: DEBIAN DOES NOT CONTAIN NON-FREE SOFTWARE.  Only our archives do. 
> > Our operating system, the Debian Distribution, does not.
> Yes, I'm not a complete idiot, I do understand this relationship.

My apologies for any offense.

> BTW, belittling people who don't go through the effort of crossing
> themselves ("Yes, I do understand the difference between

To me, it feels like every time someone asserts that I am removing software
from Debian, they are trying to inflate the impact of my effort on users for
the purpose of propping up the opposition to the idea.  Therefore, I find it
important to stress that my proposal has no actual effect on the Debian

Furthermore, even given that, the software that exists now in non-free could
be adapted fairly trivially to exist in contrib (via installer packages) and
could thus continue to live within the ftp.debian.org framework.  My
proposal does not call for the removal of contrib.

Therefore, even without the important semantic difference, it is still not
correct to state that my proposal would inevitably remove non-free software
from Debian.

> > > My gut feeling is that the current compromise has served us well as
> > > long as I've been a developer, and there's no compelling reason to
> > 
> > I disagree with your premise, and maintain that the current compromise has
> > been a constant source of trouble.
> Has it?  Except for a few isolated grumblings about autobuilding and
> migration of software to testing, I don't see (and haven't seen) a
> real problem.  If I'm missing this "constant source of trouble,"
> please point it out to me.

It has.  We have gotten egg on our faces more than once when we're unable to
fix security problems.  We've had problems with keeping architectures in
sync.  Trouble with users misunderstanding what is a part of Debian and what
isn't.  Trouble with people asserting that Debian has somehow "blessed" the
programs in non-free.  Endless licensing problems (here's pine yet again),

> I suspect the only constant source of trouble is in the heads of
> people who can't sleep at night due to the fear that some debian.org
> server might have non-free software on it.

You might also note that my GR does not call for the removal of non-free
from stable, nor from any previously-released distribution.  It only applies
to testing, unstable, and the releases to follow.  It is quite conceivable
that debian.org servers may continue to have non-free software available
somewhere for the forseeable future.

> Anyway, ftp.kernel.org has all sorts of software that has nothing to
> do with the Linux kernel on it, yet I don't see massive confusion
> there.  Then again, they actually release software instead of firing
> GRs at each other. ;-)

They also have the benefit of not having rampant confusion about just what
is part of the kernel and what isn't.  Oh wait :-)

> Nor do I see anything in this resolution that guarantees the
> availability of the former non-free elsewhere, or the provision of an
> alternate debian.org domain name for it (like "not.debian.org").
> "Moving it to another server" looks to me more like "dropping it into
> the memory hole."  (Orwellian analogy intentional.)

That was intentional.  If I hard-coded a specific name into the GR, then we
fall into the same trap we're in now ("damn, the server changed names, have
to issue another GR before it can come back up.")

But there's also the issue that I would not expect Debian to provide any
direct support for such a server, though Debian developers well may.

Note, though, that we already have a mechanism in contrib that would not
require such a server at all.

I have no doubt that there exists someone out there with the disk space and
bandwidth to host it, and someone with the expertise to do so.  And I have
no doubt that this could be readily accomplished before any removals take
place, and failing that, certainly before the release of the next stable
(which is when the effects would really be felt.)  

> > > muck with it.  You can easily ignore the existence of non-free if it
> > > gets your panties in a bunch, kinda like I ignore the fact that my
> > > DirecTV service has several religious and shopping channels.
> > 
> > Nice analogy in principle, but deeply flawed in practice.
> Give me an example where my analogy breaks down then.

Because no DirecTV subscriber is going to somehow assume that QVC is
a part of CNN.

-- John

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