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Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main

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

> If it's only useful for non-free software, we should probably consider
> it.  More likely, it's not useful at all, and we should consider
> dropping it entirely. How many libraries do we have in this state?

We went through this whole discussion with emulators, with people pushing
them towards contrib under the theory that there was no free firmware for
them to play.  Then people packaged various free firmware just to get the
emulators back into main.  This process strikes me as a significant waste
of time and energy, and I'm not sure what it's supposed to accomplish.

If the package absolutely requires a piece of non-free software to work,
or if it's an installer for non-free software (such as the various
installer packages or the packaging wrappers around djb software), it goes
in contrib.  If it just implements some sort of API or ABI that isn't
specific to some *particular* piece of non-free software, I think shoving
it towards contrib is just a waste of everyone's time.  As we already saw
with emulators, free uses of that API or ABI tend to eventually
materialize, making this distinction requires drawing a lot of thin and
hazy lines, and (worst of all) it always sparks long, pointless threads
about the definition of freedom on debian-devel.

I don't think the distinction between main and contrib should be so
unstable as to change based on the existence of some theoretical piece of
third-party software.  As long as the software implements some reasonably
generic API or ABI that isn't inherently non-free and doesn't require a
dependency on non-free software in the dpkg sense, I say just put it in
main and not worry about whether anyone has used that API or ABI in free
software yet.  It saves on moving things around later, I can't see how it
breaks anything in the DFSG, and it means one less controversial grey area
decision that we have to make all the time.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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