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Re: What do you win by moving things to non-free?

(This seems like a discussion for -project, although little new is
being said.)

On Sat, Apr 16, 2005 at 03:54:45AM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> Currently, this works and this documentation is shipped with gcc. But 
> post-sarge this documentation will move to non-free.

And that's fine.  If you need non-free stuff, install it from non-free.
That's why it exists; to allow packaging things that are important to
some people, but not free--such as the gcc manual.

> The second point might only be a minor nuisance for me, but the first 
> one will tell me that Debian would be much less usable if I wouldn't use 
> non-free.
> Is this wanted?

The (exact!) same argument has been applied to lots of useful non-free
software, such as Qmail, several important Java implementations, BitKeeper,
and (some years back) Netscape.  The argument is consistently and
resoundingly rejected for those works.  Why should it be accepted for

Being in non-free isn't a condemnation.  It means the contents are not
Free, and it's up to the user to decide whether to use it anyway.  Having
GFDL documentation in main does not *make* it free.

> And teaching people that in many cases non-free is a required component 
> for them doesn't help free software. Today, you can tell a user that 

GFDL documentation is non-free.  Teaching people that freedom is important
only so long as it's convenient, and that freedom is willingly sacrificed
at the FSF's whim, will *cripple* free software.

> What do you win by moving things to non-free?

You inform people that what they're using is not Free.  That's a fundamental
purpose of non-free: to be able to make some important but non-free pieces
available to users, while allowing users to know that some of the stuff
they're using is non-free, if they care.

You present some incredibly strange arguments: you're not arguing that the
gcc manual is Free, but instead, apparently, saying "we shouldn't move non-
free stuff to non-free because it teaches people that they need non-free
things".  Here's a tip: it's a *good thing* to teach people that they
still need non-free things, if it's the truth; it just might inspire
people to create free versions, or convince the FSF to free up their works.
That's a fundamental reason for separating non-free, and that's never changed.

Glenn Maynard

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