Re: Screw non-free.
The Social Contract itself is the result of a charged discussion that _I_ had
at USENIX with Robert Young (long ago CEO of Red Hat) about what _I_ wanted
in a Linux distribution.
I argued that when someone chooses an operating system they give power
(economic and ideological) to the organization they choose. Free Software is
an ideology and any organization that purports to be a Free Software
distributor owes its users a promise to support that ideology.
I told Bob that I didn't want to get bait and switched. I didn't want to give
my economic power to some organization that was just going to cash in when
they got the chance. I said that Red Hat should promise me that code they
wrote would always be under the GPL. Bob told me that such a policy would be
the "kiss of death" for Red Hat.
That discussion set me solidly on the track of supporting Debian from then on
and it formed the basis for the discussions that became the Social Contract
and then the Debian Free Software Guidelines and then the Open Source
definition and so on.
If you value the Social Contract and like what is says then keep in mind that
it first rolled off my tongue.
At that discussion the priority was this:
- Make sure the code, all of it, is Free so that we are not cheated out of our
rightful control as the stakeholders.
- Make sure that the organization does not lie, or hide its problems, or
deceive its constituents.
- Make sure that people can use the software for any purpose including
commercial use as long as the above core trusts are not violated.
Non-free and contrib crept in as a matter of convenience. At the time the vast
majority of people could not download something as big as Debian so their
importance was discounted. Those times are passing and we need to come to
terms with where we came from so that we can firmly perceive where we are
Debian is Free. Support does not mean distribution. If an organization or an
author is not kind enough to give us what we consider a Free license then we
should not show them the kindness of distributing their work. We won't
purposefully break or thwart the use of their software but we shouldn't
distribute it. That goes for anybody, right up to Richard Stallman.
Keep Debian Free. No non-free in Debian.
On Thursday 11 March 2004 18:40, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> _You_ have personally agreed that _you_ will support the Debian users
> who run non-free software on Debian by becoming a Debian developer.
Ean Schuessler, CTO