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Re: Honesty in Debian (was Re: Amendment to GR on GFDL, and the changes to the Social Contract

On Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 09:37:31AM +0100, Xavier Roche wrote:
> On Mon, 13 Feb 2006, Sven Luther wrote:
> > Nope, but i think those who try to hide the issue of non-free material in
> > main, by insisting that it is not software
> Fonts or documentations are not softwares, for god's sake!

everything that is not hardware is software, all the rest is excuses and play
with words.

> > I want to remind you all, that previous to the two GRs which clarified the
> > meaning of what we must consider free
> .. what we must consider free *software*

Indeed, once we go past free software, we can start dwelling in the domain of
free hardware, which is a topic of much interest nobody has yet tackled well.

Naturally, dabbling in hardware is something that goes beyong a few hours of
donated time, and involves at the very least a couple of hundred thousand
euros, so it is a more difficult topic to handle, as the barrier of entry is
so much higher.

> > For the rest of the stuff, just put it in non-free, and maybe modify how we
> > handle non-free, classifying it in non-free-but-distributable and
> > non-free-with-distributions-constraints, and making its use easy, especially
> > at the installer level for kernel firmware
> Good idea. I wish all users could install Debian on their
> exotic-firmware-enabled-network card and wifi-aware laptop (which is not
> the case currently) instead of saying "shit, this crap is just not working
> well. let's switch to gentoo or mandriva"

Indeed, but they should know (and we should tell them), that the hardware they
are buying is not free-software friendly, so that they have a chance to vote
with their wallet and chose those companies who are friendly to free software
when buying hardware, so hiddenly putting non-free software in main, is
counterproductive, while putting it in non-free, and making its use easy if
the user wants to, is the right way out of this, and the more (if not only)
honest way of dealing with this issue.

> But I still consider documentation different than softwares, and don't see
> any major problem regarding the FDL.

So, you believe that documentation is hardware, well, this is a sensible
argument, at least for those part of the documentation whose purpose is to be
printed as book, which is undoublty something you can consider hardware, but
less valable if you consider the majority of documentation debian distribute,
which not only comes in electronic, and thus non-tangible, format, but also is
aimed at non-printed distribution. And even if it is destined at being
printed, i don't think we should accept it being hardware, as i don't think we
would accept for example geda example files with a non-free licence in main,
and those are aimed at producing unmistakably hardware (geda is a PCB and thus
electronic circuit design software, distributed in main).

As thus, it is clear that the documentation in debian is more akin to
software, as opposed to hardware, and your point is moot.

I know that there are folk trying to coin some kind of third *ware word to
clasify things they really don't like to be free or whatever, but i think
those are being dishonest, and trying to find some hacky excuse for not
clearly saying what they want, namely that they want to allow some form of
non-free software in main.


Sven Luther

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