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Re: Social Contract GR's Affect on sarge

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> schrieb:

> On Mon, Apr 26, 2004 at 08:49:43PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
>> However, I still think that it was only editorial changes, that the
>> GFDL'ed stuff was non-free even before this GR, and that it was
>> considered non-critical for sarge despite of this.
> So, given how many people seem to just ignore what I say, there's
> not much point to this but what the hell: the above isn't a good
> representation: yes, the GFDL stuff was recognised as non-DFSG-free,
> no it wasn't considered a violation of the Social Contract because the
> SC specifically talked about "remaining free" and "software". I'm sorry
> you didn't accept that line of reasoning, but I'm insulted that you
> think I'd willfully violate the social contract.

I never said you or anybody "willfully violate the social

Debian always had to struggle to stay, and to become free. We're not
living in an ideal world, and the distinction between free and non-free
isn't always that clear. Therefore I always felt that it is bad to
include some stuff with unclear status, or to have not yet moved away
everything that turned out to be non-free. But I accepted that it was
how it was: 100% free was a promise, we were working hard to achieve
that goal, but not always managed.

Furthermore, we do ship GFDL'ed stuff (and firmware) in Debian
currently, namely in our stable distribution, woody. It seems we can
choose between two options: 

Either we start to remove the non-free stuff, that was previously marked
sarge-ignore, now, delaying the release of sarge until we finished
this. And it will take time, especially given that I'd consider it much
better to invest time in talking to upstream to relicense their stuff
instead of just putting some rm commands into your debian/rules. During
all this time the stable Debian distribution will contain non-free
stuff, and will get so old that it smells.

The other option is to release sarge ASAP (possibly even with non-free
firmware, as long as we are allowed to distribute it at all, I've not
decided for me on this issue), and start working on removing/relicensing
the sarge-ignore non-free stuff immediately afterwards. This should be
enforced by some policy¹, so that it's not a question of individual
maintainer's priorities.

I bet that the time when Debain will have removed this non-free stuff
won't differ much, no matter which of both options we take. Debian does
violate it's own SC, in this respect, and this won't change if we delay
sarge's release. But it is clear to me that our commitment to our users,
and our promise to create "an integrated system of high-quality
materials", will be met much better if we take the second one.

Regards, Frankk

¹ e.g. no migration to testing for packages with non-free stuff, uploads
to stable only without non-free stuff, or as an exception if
release-critical bugs are fixed.
Frank Küster, Biozentrum der Univ. Basel
Abt. Biophysikalische Chemie

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