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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal

On Thu, Nov 14, 2002 at 12:15:32PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> 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.

That has to be incorrect; it is impossible that the marginal cost of
non-free is zero, though it certainly may be very small.

> It's just as easy to maintain three components as
> two.

I'm not talking about human, intellectual labor.  I'm talking about
network traffic and disk sectors.

> 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%.

You're the second person today (the other was Josip Rodin) whose done
statistical analysis that refused to consider non-free separately from
contrib.  Why?  John's GR doesn't mandate that we do anything in
particular with contrib.

> 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?

It's difficult to measure the impact of user confusion or charges of
hypocrisy.  Whether or not that means considerations of same should
influence our thinking is another question.

> non-free software pays its own way by putting a smile on Herbert's face
> when he plays whichever games he listed,

Do the frowns it presumably puts on other developers' face count for

> and when Kevin can advocate Debian more effectively due to its
> existance.

What about those who could advocate Debian more effectively due to its
absence?  The Free Software Foundation is one example, though I do
recognize that the thought increased support from the FSF might
paradoxically lead some people to vote *against* the GR.[1]

> Considering how little it costs, it doesn't take much to pay its way.

You seem to be disregarding the opportunity costs of keeping it around.

[1] /me waves hello to the ghost of Alex Yukhimets

G. Branden Robinson                |
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      Please do not look directly into
branden@debian.org                 |      laser with remaining eye.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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