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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Wed, Nov 13, 2002 at 06:09:55PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> Non-free certainly costs *something*, even just at a concrete,
> shoveling-bits-around level.  What *is* that cost?

Given contrib, nothing. It's just as easy to maintain three components as
two. If the GR were changed to remove contrib too, the question would be
more interesting; but really most of the costs have already been paid.
It might've been easier to reimplement dinstall if there'd been no need
to separate Debian by component, but that's done now, and it doesn't
seem likely to be something we're going to do again in the near future.

In unimportant aspects like disk space it costs something like
2GB for contrib and non-free, or about 2% of the size of the main
archive. Presumably the BTS is something similar, but it'd be more effort
to find out than I've ever had to put in to support non-free on the BTS.
I'd expect CPU usage and similar things to also be proportional to the
number of packages, and also be 2 or 3%.

For comparison, the current contents of the queue (packages uploaded
today, packages rejected in the last few months, new packages waiting to
be approved and .changes files from packages uploaded over the last few
months), uses slightly more disk space than non-free for potato, woody,
sarge and sid at present.

Personally, I've never had been worried by someone failing to cope with
Debian distributing non-free software, so I'd rate the educational and
political costs at zero too, but presumably other people's mileage have
varied, and they can present some sort of repeatable analysis to back
up their estimates of the problems that causes?

> > I agree that there are a lot of other reasons to choose Debian. That's
> > why, even if non-free were to be taken out of Debian's mirrors, I
> > would still use develop Debian but my time would be split developing
> > an alternate infrastructure to support non-free.
> Well, why *shouldn't* non-free software have to "pay its own way" rather
> than riding on the back of a Free Software project?  Because it can?

non-free software pays its own way by putting a smile on Herbert's face
when he plays whichever games he listed, and when Kevin can advocate
Debian more effectively due to its existance. Considering how little it
costs, it doesn't take much to pay its way.


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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