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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 22:12:42 -0600, John Goerzen
<jgoerzen@complete.org> wrote:
>1. Maintaining non-free software is a drain on resources that our project
>should be devoting to Free software.

Why don't you first stop draining your personal resources by
maintaining your non-free software? You should be devoting your time
to Free software instead.

>2. Maintaining non-free software is a constant source of confusion to our
>users and developers.

As is maintaining Free software. Why don't we stop providing Debian at

>3. Our social contract stipulates already that our operating system does not
>contain non-free software.  I see no reason why we need to be offering it
>alongside the operating system.

I see a bunch of reasons. Our users, for example.

>1. Packages currently in non-free could simply be altered slightly and move
>into contrib.  contrib would have an apt-gettable "installer" package that
>would go out and download the source (or binaries, as applicable) from the
>package's master site, and build/install them.  Our existing dependency
>system would take care of all of that.  Debian's conscience would be clean
>and users would be happy.  Users would likely need to make no modifications
>to configuration.

How many resources would have to be devoted to developing and
maintaining the installer packages that replace packages that we
_have_ now, and that actually work _now_. Installer packages are an
acceptable workaround in the situation where license forbids binary
distribution, but having installers to circumvent home-made
restrictions is a bad thing to do.

>2. An apt-gettable archive hosted outside of Debian.  Mirror networks would,
>I'm sure, be happy to pick it up.  Heck, all we'd need is a place like
>Metalab.  Users would need to make a slight alteration to sources.list.

People would need to contribute bandwidth and machines, and we would
have to duplicate the entire infrastructure that is used for archive
maintenance. Take a look into katie's source code, be aware that katie
is only a tiny part of the archive maintenance infrastructure and
think if we should pull resources from debian-installer to build the
infrastructure to - again - replace something that is currently in
place, active and working.

>No exceptions would be made, and I believe this is a current problem up for
>discussion in other lists.  In any case, the Debian Distribution already
>would not contain such material.

You insisting that the distribution does not currently contain
non-free software reminds me of Deutsche Bahn AG who currently has a
major advertising campaign running that claims that one can get a 40 %
rebate by booking a week in advance. They keep omitting that their
customer rebate card is reduced from 50 % to 25 % and that the 40 %
rebate is only given in quite rare circumstances.

Why not start a career in advertising? You seem to be good at it.

>Incidentally, almost all of the {Free,Net,Open}BSD packages are handled in
>just that sort of way, and it works well enough for them.

Just to remind you, this is Debian. Not some BSD. You can use Debian
without having a fully-fledged build system and the source codes
installed, IMO a very big advantage.


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