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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 10:21:31PM -0600, John Goerzen wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 08:31:41PM -0600, Chris Lawrence wrote:
> > 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.  

We're removing it from that part of Debian that is the archive
(pool/non-free), from that part of Debian that is lintian.debian.org,
from that part of Debian that is /pub/debian on your favourite mirror. If
you're inclined to use "Debian" as short hand for that part of Debian
that is the GNU/Linux distribution, please be willing to accept that
other people find it convenient to use "Debian" as short hand for the
parts of Debian listed above.

> Therefore, I find it
> important to stress that my proposal has no actual effect on the Debian
> distribution.

I think you'll find everyone actually realises that.

> 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.

Personally, I'd be much more impressed if you'd be willing to make
your argument from the grounds that the Debian project would cease
having anything to do with non-free software: not include it in the
archive, not include packages that depend on it, and not provide our
other infrastructure (bugs.d.o, lists.d.o, lintian.d.o, packages.d.o,
etc). If you're doing something as a matter of principle, don't be
wishy-washy about it.

As it is, there are so many "this doesn't imply..." and "we could..." that
it's almost impossible to actually talk about what your GR will imply
-- you have to set up a whole decision tree saying if this is the case,
then this will suck, or if that is the case this other thing will suck,
and these two things are mutually exclusive with the result that one
thing will suck or another will, but not both...

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

We have worse problems with contrib, of course: take a look at the
realplayer installer; it breaks when real move their image, it's a
nuisance to maintain, etc. acroread is in the lucky situation where
we can not only no longer package it for non-free, but installers are
forbidden in the license too.

But seriously, someone's going to have to decide whether to keep contrib,
whether to keep non-free packages supported by the BTS and so on. It would
be massively helpful if this was included in the GR (and discussed first
if you're not sure which is the Right Thing), rather than lumping highly
controversial policy decisions on groups whose main job is dealing with
technical issues. Having two alternative resolutions that we can vote
upon, one that definitely keeps contrib and one that definitely doesn't
would be better than what you've proposed.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

 ``If you don't do it now, you'll be one year older when you do.''

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