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Re: Free bigot flame burning, time to think.

On Sat, Nov 16, 2002 at 02:51:17PM +1100, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 15, 2002 at 08:09:20PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > On Sat, Nov 16, 2002 at 12:25:32AM +1100, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> > > On Thu, Nov 14, 2002 at 01:08:02PM -0600, John Goerzen wrote:
> > > > Then why to the opponents to non-free removal continue to trot out examples
> > > > of "essential" bits of non-free software, even after the free alternatives
> > > > have been developed for what was once "essential" non-free software?
> > > 
> > > Because they haven't been in all cases.
> > 
> > Depends on what your standard of "alternative" is.
> > 
> > For instance, a lot of people feel that Mozilla, Konqueror, Galeon, et
> > al. are all viable Free replacements for Netscape 4.77.  Others don't.
> This is a convenient example because for most people, Mozilla et al have
> replaced Netscape. Netscape 477 crashes so often that I am happy to
> leave it behind, even though Mozilla doesn't work with my bank's online
> banking site.

But that's exactly why some people are arguing that there isn't yet a
true replacement for Netscape 477.  They don't feel there is a
replacement for Netscape 477 until there is a free browser that works
with their bank.

Whose interpretation of "replacement" are we to accept?  Theirs or

> However there are other examples where there is no alternative. For 
> example, xpdf-japanese and similar packages for ghostscript are required 
> for viewing PDF and Postscript documents in Japanese. Similarly for 
> other Asian languages. 
> They all need non-free character map data from Adobe. It don't think it 
> is impossible to replace that data with a freely licensed equivalent. 
> However, that has not happened yet.
> Interestingly, the non-free materials are not source code, but data, in
> the form of PostScript text. I suspect that makes it more difficult than
> source code to replace.
> I suggest that the proponents of the GR stop touting the Mozilla example
> and consider this one instead.

There's always[1] going to be some new non-free thing for which there
isn't yet a free replacement.  xpdf-japanese et al. didn't exist in 1997
when we adopted the Social Contract, as far as I know.  So I don't see
non-free trailing off in use, but instead growing, and the number of
source packages in unstable over the years bears this out (see my
discussion with Jim Penny elsewhere in this list).

[1] or, at least, for as far in the future as *my* crystal ball sees

G. Branden Robinson                |     I suspect Linus wrote that in a
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     complicated way only to be able to
branden@debian.org                 |     have that comment in there.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Lars Wirzenius

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