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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Wed, Nov 13, 2002 at 10:53:45AM -0600, Vince Mulhollon wrote:

> They way I read the proposal, and the way some have interpreted it on this
> list, is that the BTS will still allow filing of bugs against non-free
> packages.  I must be reading that wrong...

That is indeed a good question.  There may not be a good answer to it if we
keep the BTS around for non-free after non-free has departed Debian's

> Finally I can't resist a little rabble rousing by pointing out
> double-speak, like "removing users options, is increasing users freedom".

I haven't said anything of the sort.  I don't believe I'm really removing
users' options with this proposal.  If people want RealAudio, they could
still get it, even if Debian had never even packaged it at all.

> one is afraid users will see non-free contains "better" software than
> "main" then fix the free software, don't try "security thru obscurity".

This is not the point at all; what you're saying here is why we had created
non-free in the first place, I believe.

> Also I fear this will place the project at risk because people will be
> inclined to "bend the rules" about licensing, witness the recent debates
> about documentation.  Deletion of non-free would encourage people to break
> the law and we should not (in general) do that.

I really doubt this will happen.  Take the case of KDE, for instance.

The documentation is a serious issue that is being given thought.  I don't
think, though, that removing non-free would somehow cause pollution of main.

> And as a last jab, we need no resolution to remove non-free, anyone whom
> wants to get rid of non-free merely has to personally write a replacement
> for every individual non-free package, or get upstream to change the

And you really consider this to be realistic?  Look at how long it took
Mozilla to become a usable replacement for Netscape -- and that's just one
non-free package.

non-free will always be with us unless we completely remove it.

Here's another possible compromise -- what if we shut down non-free to never
accept any new packages, ever?  We'd not remove it now, but might after the
packages in it have outlived their usefulness.

-- John

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