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Re: Freedom and pragmatism (was: I hereby resign as secretary)

On Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 09:02:04AM +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> > OTOH, it seems to me that there are people with varying degrees of
> > pragmatism.
> That implies a (lamentably common) false dichotomy. Free software
> goals *are* pragmatic goals. They directly affect how we interact with
> the digital information that infuses our lives; essential freedom in
> that sphere is a highly pragmatic goal.
> There may be reasons that compel us to reduce our freedom, and they
> may also be described as ???pragmatic???. But it's wrong to imply that
> those who strive for freedom don't do so for very pragmatic reasons.

Of course there are pragmatic reasons for developing and evangelizing
free software.  If there weren't, we really would be just a bunch of
fanatics.  At the moment, I am most concerned with releasing lenny, and
I believe that our users are not well served by continued delays.

Looking back at the GR from 2006 regarding sourceless firmware in the
kernel, it's clear that most of us want the issue to be resolved.
However, it's also clear from the state of things today that there
aren't enough people with the required skills and the motivation to
resolve it.  This appears to be the case both in Debian and upstream.
If this was not true, then people would have worked to resolve the
firmware issue in the kernel long before it became a release blocker.
We can't force the people with the required skills to spend time on
something for which they otherwise have no motivation.

I suppose, then, that what I'm advocating is yet another compromise.
It's difficult to compromise on our ideals, but I believe that
continuing to delay releases over this issue is frustrating our
developers and users alike.


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