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Re: confusion about non-free (Re: Bits from the Debian Eee PC team, summer 2008)

Giacomo Catenazzi <cate@debian.org> writes:
> Russ Allbery wrote:

>> I recommend not attributing such judgements to the configuration files
>> of software packages.

> Sorry???

> It is more that a configuration file, and BTW the same notation it is
> also used by apt. Archive and its format are an area of ftp-master.

I disagree.  The Release file in the archive is a configuration file that
is part of the software interface to the archive.  The terminology that it
uses refers to capabilities within the archive maintenance software and
within the software that downloads files from a Debian archive.  It does
not have anything to do with legal, administrative, or focus decisions
taken by the Debian project.

Mixing the terminology used for a software package with the terminology
used for the founding organizational documents of the project is a
mistake, in my opinion.  The Debian archive software is general software
that could be used for any project, even with an entirely different use of
the component feature that has nothing to do with licensing.  We happen to
use it for licensing and to separate things that are part of the
distribution from things that are not, but this is not in any way inherent
to the component concept within the archive software.

> The bug is only relevant to policy, but as stated by policy team,
> debian/copyright, interpretation of DFSG, archive sections ("devel",
> "libs", "mail"), etc. are areas outside policy, but they are in
> ftp-master hands.  So IMHO what "Debian" means (linked to DFSG) and what
> Lenny means (archive) is outside debian-policy (and outside of the cited
> bug).

> This is unfortunate.

I don't agree that this is the case to the extent that you describe, or
that it follows from that bug or from other Policy discussions, although I
agree that thet Constitution and Social Contract have more to say about
this than Policy does.

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

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