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

  [Peter Samuelson]
> > There's a big difference between enabling someone to install
> > non-free software, and enabling someone to view data.  (Some of
> > which is free, some not.)  Also, in case this was your point, swf
> > content is sometimes generated with free tools such as ploticus.

[Michael Poole]
> What is the difference?  I thought GR 2004-003 was all about
> recognizing software as software, whether some people call it
> "documentation" or "programs".

I suggest you reread GR 2004-003, if you believe it was about defining
the term "software".  It was actually more to the tune of "We'll stop
using the term 'software' in certain places because it's ambiguous: not
everyone interprets it to mean the same thing."  If you were confused
by my use of the term "software" to mean "executable code", I
apologise; I'll try to be more precise in the future.  I thought it was
clear enough from context, but perhaps it wasn't.

Anyway, that's a minor point; the important distinction here is not
really whether something is programs or data.  You might be familiar
with the Doom video game, of which various implementations and forks
exist in Debian.  Until a free Doom "wad" file (the game data) was
created, the various Doom engines lived in 'contrib', because they were
useless without non-free data.  Nowadays, free data exists, so the Doom
programs are in main.

Of all the "data viewer" programs I can think of in Debian main, there
is ample reason to believe there exists content out there for each
which is either (a) free (and not useless), and/or (b) created by a
Debian user who would want to use Debian to view it.  I find it
extremely unlikely that the analogous situation is true of ndiswrapper.

> SWF may be generated with free tools, but under a strict reading of
> Policy, that is insufficient to qualify for main.

OK so I don't understand why you brought up a SWF viewer as an example.
I thought it was because the content is generated with non-free tools
like Macromedia Flash.  Apparently that's not it, since we are agreed
that this is not always so.  So how else does SWF differ from, say,
HTML?  What point were you trying to make about libflash?

> Again, there is no mention of "pointless" software in Policy -- if
> there were, some large fraction of main would be moved because it is
> duplicative, trivial or otherwise pointless to have.

No document I'm aware of requires that we ship all free software
whether or not it is useful.  As it happens, I've always been opposed
to pointless software in Debian.  It's hard, however, to get it kicked
out, because nobody wants to make the judgment call (the maintainer
obviously thinks the package has a use, even if nobody else does).

I'm sorry if you thought Debian was committed to shipping software with
no regard to whether it is useful; this has never been true, although
considering some of the fringe packages in the archive, I guess I can
see why you might get that impression.  But I'm sure you can see that
"Policy doesn't say we can't" is not equivalent to "Policy backs up my
argument that we should".

> Likewise, there is no mention of "Windows driver developers ... who
> really wish they could conveniently test their Windows drivers on
> Debian".

Without those developers, and without non-free software, I contend that
ndiswrapper is useless.  And see above for what I think of *that*.

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