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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

Hello Kevin,

Thank you for your thoughtful mail.  Let me respond directly:

On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 09:55:47PM -0700, Kevin Rosenberg wrote:
> > You still have yet to point out how this actually hurts people.
> Here's how I think it actually hurts people:
> Users can no longer apt-get non-free packages from the debian mirrors
> which are already in their sources.list. Each person wanting to use
> contrib or non-free would have to manually edit their file. In my
> experience, there is a significant reluctance for users to add
> non-official repositories to their source.list. 

If we go with the "set up another non-free repository" option, then yes, it
is likely that they would have to manually edit their sources.list.  New
users, though, could get a new entry in the same manner they would today --
by answering yes to the installer question asking them about it.

I don't think it's a really difficult thing to do.  I think that if people
want that software, they would be happy to do it.  I wonder why you think
there is that reluctance?  I haven't heard of that brought up before, and
I'm curious why you think that.

The other option is to make greater use of contrib.  We could have far more
"installer" packages, which would go out and download sources/binaries from
an official distribution site, patch, build, and then install them --
possibly as part of a postinst.  Users would not have to alter their
non-free settings in this case.

My GR does not mandate the removal of contrib.  It does make it possible to
remove contrib later, but does not require it.

> I also maintain 5 contrib packages. These pkgs could no longer expect
> to have their non-free dependencies automatically downloaded from a
> Debian mirror.

That is true, though they could expect to have their non-free dependencies
automatically downloaded from an official upstream site.  (You could just
use wget to do that in the postinst).

> To my think, this GR takes away significantly while returning, though
> some benefit, very little in comparison.

I still think that either using more contrib packages or using an off-Debian
non-free is not a serious problem.  The contrib option is roughly analogous
to the system used extensively by *BSD for many years, and is proven to

-- John

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