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Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main (was: Bug#353277: should be in contrib)

On Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 01:42:38PM +0100, Robert Millan wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 12:49:48PM +0100, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> > On Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:40:26AM +0100, Robert Millan wrote:
> > > I'll ask again:  Is the purpose of ndiswrapper running non-free
> > > drivers?  If it isn't, show me a free, non-toy, non-POC driver
> > > that would prove otherwise.
> > 
> > Does the lack of a free driver which can be used with ndiswrapper mean
> > that it is impossible to use ndiswrapper with such a free driver, should
> > one eventually be written?
> You can apply this argument to every single package in contrib.  

No, that's not true.

ndiswrapper is an environment for running software, much in the same way
as wine is an environment for running software. Heck, even much in the
same way that a PC is an environment for running software.

Wine is something that was written to make the use of Windows binary
software possible on Linux. The fact that you'd do it this way, rather
than recompiling the application for Linux and running such a recompiled
version instead is a serious indication that the software you're trying
to run is, most likely, not a free application. But does that mean that
wine requires the use of non-free software?

I say it does not. Because there is a major difference between an
application that requires the use of a library that is non-free, and a
library that allows or facilitates the use of non-free software. Wine
and ndiswrapper are in the latter category; a GPL'ed application which
is written in Java that requires the use of a non-free API is not, and
is in a completely different ballpark.

>   "If a free driver/datafile/whatever existed, it would be possible to
>   run Foo without requiring non-free stuff, therefore it belongs to
>   main"
> Is your point that contrib should therefore be empty and has no reason for
> existance?


Please don't put words in my mouth if what I said can't be used to make
your point.

It is already possible to use ndiswrapper without having any non-free
software installed. Granted, it doesn't do much useful that way, but a)
neither the DFSG nor the SC say anything about usefulness, and b) if a
free library package exists in main which no other free package uses it,
we don't move the free library package to contrib either.

Fun will now commence
  -- Seven Of Nine, "Ashes to Ashes", stardate 53679.4

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