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

On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:26:04PM +0200, Bas Wijnen wrote:
> 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.

Yes, absolutely. It follows that Debian and the FSF should be "friends",
as much as that is possible as organizations (to which the concept
doesn't really apply).

> 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).

I don't think this is true. For instance, the availability of non-free
software can be a way to compel people who think they cannot live
without it to use try to use free software operating systems for the
first time. That helps free software.

There are more such things, but that's besides the point.

> 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.

I don't agree with that.

> 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 like this. I think it's a very good description of our respecive

I don't think the difference is a mere detail, though. It is a
difference between what is almost a dogmatic position on the one hand,
and something more pragmatic on the other.

> > 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".

I did describe that as "hyperbole".

> > makes people feel rather unwelcome.
> And that is something to avoid, of course.  Paul's mail didn't seem to
> be doing that, though.

Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree, then.

If I say "I want to do foo, how do I do that", and someone replies with
"no you don't, you want to do bar instead", I feel very much unwelcome;
or at the very least, misunderstood.

> > [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.

Possibly. That's all idle discussion, however.

It is easy to love a country that is famous for chocolate and beer

  -- Barack Obama, speaking in Brussels, Belgium, 2014-03-26

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