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Re: Please remove RFCs from the documentation in Debian packages

On Thu, Jul 03, 2003 at 01:42:01PM -0500, Joshua Haberman wrote:
> Keep in mind that this hard-line stance of applying the DFSG to
> everything in the archive will probably make it more difficult to gain
> support for the non-free removal resolution.

So be it.  The Social Contract and the traditions of our project compel
us to make principled decisions, not politically expedient ones.

> I think most people perceive RFCs as being free enough for their
> purpose, even though they are not DFSG-free.

That's fine.  Failing to satisfy the Debian Free Software Guidelines is
not an indicator of moral turpitude.  It just means that a work so
licensed is not a good fit for the Debian Project's stated goals.

> Of course you can come up with scenerios where someone could have a
> completely legitimate desire to use an RFC in a derivative work, but
> in comparison to situations where one wants to modify software this is
> extremely infrequent.

Sadly, this is probably true -- even if the RFCs *were* all DFSG-free
(only the early ones are), it's difficult to persuade programmers to
comment their code and document their constraints.

> I think non-free removal will seem more radical if it means that
> Debian will no longer distribute RFCs on the basis that their
> licensing is not permissive enough.

After years of watching and waiting, I have concluded that resolving to
stop shipping non-free software in our archives will be regarded as
"radical" no matter how great or small the practical consequences.  For
some people, Debian is about "apt-get install w4r3z", not about any sort
of principle.

> RFCs are the end product of a community process that represents
> everything Debian stands for.

Really?  What exactly does Debian stand for, then?  And what does the
IETF's process represent?

Without foundation, your remark serves as sloganeering, perhaps
calculated to intimidate or silence those who are simply viewing the
RFCs' licenses in an objective light.

> (Yes, I know that non-free is not part of Debian.  All I claim above is
> that in the status quo Debian distributes non-free.)

A distinction without a difference in the eyes of most users, hence the
extremely vocal opposition.  If they didn't think of non-free as "part of
Debian", they wouldn't protest so loudly.

G. Branden Robinson                |    I've made up my mind.  Don't try to
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    confuse me with the facts.
branden@debian.org                 |    -- Indiana Senator Earl Landgrebe
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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