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

On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 12:29:25PM +0100, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 12:35:06PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > The only instance when it's usable without any non-free code is when
> > you're better off using a native driver anyway.
> The only instance where wine is serving a purpose without requiring the
> use of non-free code is when you're better off using native Linux
> software anyway.

TurboCASH is a potential counterexample -- it's a complete, functional,
GPLed, Windows-based accounting suite, which hasn't been ported to Linux,
and which is non-trivial to port to Linux. Furthermore, it's reportedly
better than the accounting packages we have. I don't know if it actually
runs under Wine though.

Hrm, I hadn't thought of that. I wonder if it's worth trying to package
with a dependency on wine...

Anyway, despite it's acronym, I'd put Wine under the same heading as
emulators. But then, I don't know that I'd be that unhappy if emulators
were stuck in contrib.

There are a few lines you could draw:

    (1) running non-free drivers in order to use your system
    (2) a compatability layer to run non-free applications or games
        you might have
    (3) a client that allows you to make use of some proprietary servers,
        for which there's no free server
    (4) a viewer that allows you to view documents prepared by a proprietary
        program, for which there's no free writer

At present we let all of them into main.

> What's the difference? What is so insanely different between two ABI
> implementations that one ABI implementation can go in main, while the
> other must go to contrib?

That's a fair point -- you could reasonably argue that ndiswrapper doesn't
depend on non-free drivers, but quite to the contrary, non-free drivers
depend on ndiswrapper to operate correctly on Linux.

The usual argument that's made to allow (3) into main is to say that it
only matters what code's actually running on *your* cpu, not elsewhere;
but that seems to indicate ndiswrapper should be in contrib.

> The fact that there is useful free software for one of them, while not
> for the other? Shouldn't we let our users decide what's useful and what
> isn't? Otherwise, I'll declare that I don't find Windows software (_any_
> Windows software, including free Windows software) useful, and you're
> back to square one.

Well, fortunately what you do and don't declare doesn't matter that much,
though if you're just going to pontificate like that, this conversation isn't
going to get anywhere.

> If running or building wine or ndiswrapper required the use of non-free
> software in all cases, _then_ you'd have a case. As it is, you don't.

Dude, how about you consider the fact that you'd get more benefit out of
convincing me of your arguments, than I would of convincing you, and then
realise that saying "As it is, you don't have a case." is just irritating?

And build time dependencies are completely irrelevent to this discussion.


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