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Re: Please remove RFCs from the documentation in Debian packages

* Branden Robinson (branden@debian.org) wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 03, 2003 at 01:42:01PM -0500, Joshua Haberman wrote:
> > 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.

Do you resent everyone for whom Debian is a tool, not a principled
political statement?

> > 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?

1. Transparency.  Debian carries out discourse in private only under
compelling circumstances.  Likewise IETF working groups work over public
mailing lists and publish drafts of all their work for the public to

2. Community involvement.  It doesn't take a company or a membership
fee to participate in the RFC process, which is not the case for many
standards organizations.  Likewise, very few of Debian's processes are
closed off from public participation.

2. Open and freely-availble standards.  Free software naturally favors
interoperability, and the IETF has historically provided many of the
standards that make this interoperability a reality.  The fact that these
standards are freely available makes them more accessible to free
software developers working without a budget, in contrast to standards
from ANSI and ISO that cost money to obtain.

Is it such a stretch to recognize that the IETF is an organization whose
goals and procedures are reasonably aligned with Debian's?

Since you seem to favor absolute precision in language, I will concede
that the IETF process may not literally represent "everything" Debian
stands for, since parts of Debian's principles lay outside the scope of
standardization processes.

> 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.

Do you always read the most malicious and manipulative motivations in
other people's words?  What experiences have jaded you to the point that
you cannot presume goodwill on the part of others, even within an
organization of volunteers?

Josh Haberman
Debian GNU/Linux developer

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