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Re: what free software is about/and supporting nonfree?, maybe add to clause 5?

On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 04:33:46AM +0200, Michael Ole Olsen wrote:
> there is nothing wrong with urging people to reconsider if non-free is
> really what they want


> We shouldn't even be supporting non-free by hosting it, yet we do

That is not our reason for hosting it.  We are hosting it to support our
*users*, who may require this non-free software.  In the process we are
also supporting the software, but that is not why we host it.

Also, "we shouldn't be hosting" is incorrect IMO.  "We don't need to"
would be appropriate; there's no reason that we shouldn't, other than
the "FSF" point of view that we want to support free software (and
supporting non-free software harms that purpose).  Many people in
Debian, including myself, share that point of view.  But Debian doesn't
require it for membership, and there is nothing wrong with members who

> If you support hosting of non-free you support putting people in jail.


On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:26:52AM +0200, Marc Haber wrote:
> Your answer was totally not answering the question the OP asked.

Helping people sometimes means understanding why they ask a question and
then telling them things that may be good for them, even if they didn't
ask for it.  This was perhaps such a case.[0]  There's nothing wrong with

And of course, as with all unasked for advice, the OP is free to ignore
the suggestion.

[0] Actually I disagree; he did ask for "best practices", and while this
wasn't what he meant, it is an answer to the question.

> You silently assumed that

No; "please consider this" does not assume anything.  It's just a
suggestion to consider something.  If the details of the situation make
it impossible to implement the suggestion, then that is the result of
the consideration.

> - the software in question would be interesting for the public
> - the OP intended to upload to Debian

Neither of these is required for it to be a good idea to ask the author
to relicense.  "The software is interesting for me" is enough reason.
And free software is good, also if it isn't in Debian.

> - the OP was in a position to ask the author to relicense.

*Everyone* is in a position to ask *anyone* *anything*[1].  Worst case
they decline.

[1] Ok, there are exceptions.  You may not have their contact details;
they may get angry and cause you harm.  But that is very unusual.

On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 02:07:09PM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> The FSF has a stated goal of wanting to eradicate all non-free software.
> That's fine, that's their right, and if they manage to do that, more
> power to them.

Debian has a stated goal of helping free software (SC#4).  That is a
very similar goal.  Especially when you realize that non-free software
hurts free software (by taking users from it, thus making it lose bug
reports and making it less interesting to work on).

The main difference is, that in Debian "free software" has to share its
prioritized position with "our users".  And SC#5 makes it clear that we
can help non-free software if our users require it.  However, if we have
a choice, free software is the way to go.  The difference between us and
the FSF on this really is only a detail.

More specifically, the difference is that when people require non-free
software, the FSF says "No you don't, you should live without that
feature until there is a free replacement" and we say "Oh alright, but
only until we've made a free replacement".

> I respect you wanting to prefer the (in my opinion) worse option on that
> list, but please realize that not everyone shares that preference. In
> that light, just going "ignoring your question, you said non free, which
> is EV1L!!, you should fix that first and then come back" like you did[1]

Ehm, no.  He pointed out that this would be the best thing to do (which
was the question).  Nobody said "don't come back until you've done it".

> makes people feel rather unwelcome.

And that is something to avoid, of course.  Paul's mail didn't seem to
be doing that, though.

> it isn't in line with Debian's SC#5.

I disagree.

> [1] I realize that's a bit of a hyperbole and that you certainly didn't
>     mean it that way. However, I do think that is what your answer will
>     result in people feeling.

I don't think so.  The exception is people who have been having this
debate for a while.  But those have made their minds up already anyway,
so them thinking that you are a zealot doesn't matter; they already
thought so anyway.

On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 09:53:21AM -0400, Carlos Gili wrote:
> I do agree that the non free software, could or should be stored on
> "alternate repos", handled by "someone else", to store, distribute and
> possibly verify quality of the Software, ensuring it runs on Debian, it
> haves no "viruses, malware, bots or trojans inside". But someone on
> Debian should "coordinate" with this "external repo(s)" to ensure their
> commitment to the quality. Something like "Microsoft's Certified
> Solution Providers", or the "Canonical's Partners' Multiverse", or
> Launchpad.

This is a pretty accurate description of contrib and non-free, except
that it isn't handled by "someone else".  Why would that make things
better?  If we, as Debian, want this to happen, why shouldn't we make it

Note that Debian cannot check that non-free software is not malware.
That's one of the reasons we prefer free software. ;-)


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