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Re: Please remove RFCs from the documentation in Debian packages

On Sat, Jul 05, 2003 at 02:10:12PM +0200, Petter Reinholdtsen wrote:
> [Stephen Stafford]
> > We have a commitment that everything in Debian main is Free.  Since
> > the RFC license is NOT Free, it can't be in main.  This does NOT
> > imply anything about the usefulness of RFCs, merely about their
> > Freedom.
> There seem to be two ways of interpreting the social contract.  One is
> that the only thing (100%) included in Debian must be free software.
> The other one is that all software included in Debian must be free
> software, as defined by the DFSG.  Only if you use the first
> interpretation do you statement make sense.  I find it rather strange
> to try to handle everything as software, and believe we need to handle
> non-software with a different set of guidelines.  Until these
> guidelines are in place, I believe it is unwise to try to handle
> non-software as software and force the DFSG on all of these.

Umm...I find it hard to see how you can interpret "Debian will remain 100%
Free software" as meaning that only the software in Debian will always be
100% Free.  You *could* interpret it to mean that the only things in Debian
will be software that is Free if you wanted to...in which case RFCs (not
being software) do NOT belong in Debian.

Personally I prefer the option of treating everything that is in Debian as
being software (whether it is or not) and applying the DFSG to decide on
whether it is Free or not.

Whether we need guidelines for things which are non-software to determine
their Freeness or not is a different question.  However, while we DON'T have
those guidelines, we MUST use the only guidelines we do have, which is the

I had to agree to abide by the DFSG when I did NM as did everyone with an
account (unless they were given accounts before the NM process was created).
I *Still* believe that the DFSG is a useful set of guidelines for everything
in Debian.

To digress a little from the core point of the thread, I think that the fact
that there are some things which aren't Free, but which still serve our
users' needs, is a good reason for keeping non-free around.

I am wholly uncomfortable with the idea of putting non-free stuff in main
(the "because it's not really software, it doesn't really matter" argument).
I think the existence of something in Debian main implies somethign about
its freedom.  This is laid out in the Social Contract and the DFSG.  I wish
we could lose the stigma that non-free has.  There's nothing wrong with
things in non-free...they just are NOT FREE!  Putting something in main
implies that Debian as an entity endorsees it as Free.

I should explain here that I'm not half as rabidly anti non-free software as
many DDs.  I prefer to use Free stuff if it's available and is fit for
purpose.  If there isn't something Free available to do the task, I'll use
something non-free instead.  Just because I will use non-free software, does
NOT mean I think it belongs in Debian main though.  There is a committment
to keep Debian main 100% Free, and that's a committment I like.

/me stops before he goes on a real rant



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