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Re: [DRAFT] resolving DFSG violations

On Fri, Oct 24 2008, Steve Langasek wrote:

> On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 12:23:22PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> On Thu, Oct 23 2008, martin f krafft wrote:
>> > It's all a matter of defining what your priorities are, which brings
>> > us back to the Social Contract, which says that these include:
>> >   - 100% freeness
>> >   - cater best to the interests of our users
>>         Frankly, this mindset infuriates me. It frames the discussion
>>  incorrectly, it implies that freeness and user interest are at
>>  odds.
> No, it acknowledges that freeness and user interest are *sometimes* at
> odds, and leaves it up to humans with faculties of reason to sort out
> which of these two competing factors takes precedence in any given
> situation.

        In the long term, I do not think that is the case.

        In the short term, sure, and we have determined that the place
 to put non-free things that users might need to address their needs is
 called the non-free part of the  archive.

> To forestall the inevitable strawmen, I'll say plainly that I am *not*
> arguing that this justifies including non-free software in Debian
> proper.  What I *am* arguing is that we are called by the Social
> Contract to help ensure Debian's continued utility to the general
> population, because if nothing else, that's where we find the next
> generations of developers who will keep our project alive.

        Back when we were deciding about all this, Alex Yukhimets argued
 against the free requirement, saying that including the non-free
 netscape browser was absolutely critical to the survival of Debian,
 since other wise we'd have no users.

        Surprisingly, we survived then, and I suspect we'll survive
 now.  And despite not including non-free netscape in main, the fact we
 had a social contract that we followed made Debian stronger.

> Otherwise, it might as well have just said "Our priority is our
> users"; if you believe that what's best for free software is *always*
> what's best for our users, and that what's best for our users is to
> use only free software, then there's no need to spell this out as two
> *separate* priorities, right?

        And, if you continue to read just a wee bit longer, you'lll see
 we also say that we will provide such stuff that users need that does
 not meet our definition of free in -- surprise --- the non-free section.

> This doesn't mean we should all drop what we're doing and work on the
> firmware issue; but at the very least, developers shouldn't be
> sanguine about proposing the outright removal of firmware blobs, with
> no support for loading them from non-free, as a "solution".

        It is not an ideal solution, but is better than sloshing it all
 under the carpet and pretending all is kosher with our supposed
 to be 100% free OS.

>>         The same goes for people who are complaining oabout advocates
>>  of the social contract and libre software, calling them folks who do
>>  not care for users. I contend that people who stuff main with
>>  non-free stuff _are_ the ones acting against the interests of the
>>  users in the long term,
> It's pretty insulting to suggest that there is a non-zero set of developers
> who have been "stuffing" non-free stuff into main, particularly when the
> very kernel team that's being maligned by this implication is the same group
> that has already done the heavy lifting of as much of the sourceless
> firmware removal as we've achieved so far.

        Is it any less insulting to say people who want to explicitly
 acknowledge that we are failing to meet the standards we set ourselves
 are "user haters", de-constructive whiners and zealots?

        If insults are what get your goat, I can list a number uttered
 by people on this thread against people who are raising concerns
 about silently slipping in non-free stuff in main.

        Indeed, we have been slimed by the Debian equivalent of being

>>         Why is not putting non-free firmware in non-free not the right
>>  thing to do?
> It is the right thing to do; and while I know there are people that
> disagree, I haven't seen anyone in *this thread* disagree with that.
> But there are lots of other things that are "right" to do, and not all
> of them are possible to achieve at the same time with limited
> resources.  Is it still the Right Thing to remove non-free firmware if
> we don't also make it possible to load it from non-free at the same
> time?  Is it the Right Thing to delay the next release indefinitely
> while the firmware problems are sorted out?

        Yes, loaded question, and yes again.

        I have a piece of hardware not supported by free software. I
 install the OS, and go through a step where I access the driver from
 non-free post-install and get the full functionality in a second
 step. I think that is perfectly acceptable. With netwrok hardware, the
 ubiquitous USB drive and sneaker net is fine too.

        It should not take us an indefinite time to release with
 firmware blobs gone. I'll stake my reutation that the period involved
 is not indefinite, and there is a upper boundary to it.

        Testing out the patches that have been produced by Ben ought not
 to take "indefinite" time. It took me just a couple of hours to test
 the kernels on the four machines I own; and they worked just fine. Of
 course, my machines are not affected by the firmware issues, so I know
 this means little for the regression testing.

        Given the state of RC bugs, I am not sure how much delay we
 would entail while we test out the stripped kernel. I'll be willing to
 help test, if it comes to that.


It is necessary to have purpose. Alice #1, "I, Mudd", stardate 4513.3
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>  
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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