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Re: Discussion - non-free software removal



OK.

I can't remember what my position was in 1997 :)

As a Debian developer:

1.)  I don't run non-free software under Linux.  I eat my own 
dogfood. [For legacy purposes, I maintain a dual-boot machine
so my four year old can use some non-free Windows educational
programs]

2.) I encourage the use of Debian everywhere I can at work and
at home and in the charities for which I do some voluntary work.
One of the selling points, for me, is that I can give someone
7 CD's worth of genuinely Free Software, set it up for them
and _know_ that I'm in the clear for distribution/use etc.

The GR doesn't change my stance but I'm not sure it will
help clarify the issue for anyone else.

[All IMHO]
The crux is the DFSG / non-DFSG distinction.  Everything 
DFSG that has no dependencies on non-free software goes
into main: contrib also contains DFSG software but software 
which depends on non-free AIUI.

[Semi-serious interim solution]

Rename main to DFSG-free (or Debian-free, for short).  Move contrib
and non-free together into a new section (non-DFSG-free or non-Debian
for short).
---
Trying to rationalise why, for example, I can install an installer which
will download/compile Pine source but not a ready-made .deb and to
explain that to someone else is non-trivial.  [A very good friend
has more than once accused me of "free software fascism" - I don't like
to think of it that way, but he feels _very_ strongly].

As an organisation, we need to stress the Social Contract and the DFSG
as factors which help keep us honest. As DD's, we choose to submit
ourselves to the Social Contract and to show that we care about Free
Software: in this, we are no better or worse than other humans but
we voluntarily choose to impose restrictions on our work in an
effort to build a better distribution for "our users".  
[The closest analogy I can find is religious: monks/nuns and brothers
would all admit they are ordinary men and women - they choose
voluntarily to submit themselves to a higher standard of conduct and
stricter rules than they would expect of others, but doing that doesn't
make them intrinsically "better people".  The other analogy is of
the Castalian society in the Glass Bead Game by Hesse]

Non-free software is not intrinsically evil of itself, nor are those
who use it or develop for it: I can contend that Free Software is
always preferable but I shouldn't force it on others against their
will but rather lead by example, IMHO.  

This argument could go on and on for a long time :(  Please,
moderation in tone will serve the Debian image well as will a
coherently argued rationale - rather than flaming the living shit
out of each other :)

Andy


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