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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Wed, Nov 13, 2002 at 09:02:58AM -0600, John Goerzen wrote:
> > What you mean is that the non free software was never part of
> > the Debian distribution, that is, the OS that Debian, the project,
> > produces. True enough. But non-free software was provided, and
> > supported, by Debian the project, and that is precisely what you are
> > trying to take away.
> I'm trying to take away what we are providing.  The GR does not take away
> the support.

"Why?" is the question that you continually refuse to answer.

why are you trying to do that?  what benefit does it provide?

do you really think that inflexible ideology is more important than
pragmatic utility?

trying to ban all non-free software from the debian archives is the
moral equivalent of a proprietary company trying to get free software
banned - because it results in a net loss of freedom, the freedom to

if you really want non-free software to vanish from debian, then do
something genuinely useful about it: write or contribute code to
adequate replacements for the non-free stuff or encourage non-free
upstream authors to change their license.  non-free software will vanish
of its own accord when no debian developer thinks it is worth their
time to bother packaging it.  until that time, there is a demonstrable
need and interest in the package which is sufficient for that particular
package to be included in the ftp archive.

most of the stuff in non-free isn't proprietary or binary-only software
anyway.  it's mostly software that is almost free but which fails one or
two points of the DFSG, usually the non-discrimination clause or because
the author has strange ideas about how source code should be managed.
it's free enough to include in the ftp archive, but not free enough to
include as part of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

btw, parts of the linux kernel are non-free.  like the software in
non-free, the license has exemptions which allow us to package and
distribute it, but the only real difference is that the kernel is
important enough to include in main.  if you really want a slavish
adherence to ideology without the sanity-check of pragmatic reason, that
means we have to remove the kernel from the ftp archive and from the

> I apologize for that; I think I let my irritation with being recently
> called a "bigot" come through on that one.

what else do you call someone who is intolerant of other people's

the label fits.  wear it.  it may not be how you like to see yourself,
but it's the truth.


craig sanders <cas@taz.net.au>

Fabricati Diem, PVNC.
 -- motto of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch

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