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Re: New DFSG-compliant emacs packages

David Kastrup <dak@gnu.org> wrote:

> Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> writes:
> >  Just because this is a freedom you do not care about does not mean
> >  it is a freedom that Debian does not care about.
> But Debian does not _provide_ freedoms.  It just takes them away.
> Throwing out the Emacs manual does not give the user any freedom.

Just because it was there to begin with doesn't confer any special
rights to it.  Many other non-free docs have never made it into Debian
either.  You could say that we're not throwing it out, we're simply no
longer including it.
> >  You have decided that is not a freedom you care about. I differ.
> But you don't care enough for that freedom to actually write a one or
> two page manual.  And you don't provide the user with any freedom, but
> rather take away possibilities from him by refusing to let him use the
> Emacs manual under the GFDL.

We do no such thing.  We simply won't be party to its distribution.

As you are so fond of saying, we don't _code_ or _write_ anything
anyway; all we do is distribute.  Let us distribute what we want.

> But you don't gain that freedom by removing a manual.  You can only
> provide that freedom by _writing_ a manual, not by removing it.
> And nobody cares enough about that freedom to actually bother writing
> a manual.
> The FSF, not being satisfied with the available situation, rewrote
> software and documentation according to their ideas of freedom.
> Debian has different standards, but does not bother rewriting anything
> itself.  Instead it hopes that it can pressure upstream to adapt to
> Debian's standards, by withholding the freedoms they don't consider
> sufficient for their taste from their users.

We have to draw the line somewhere, don't we.  It's either free or
non-free.  We don't include binary-only software in Debian either,
thereby withholding the freedom to use them from our users.  So what?
> If they really bothered about the freedoms of their users, they'd work
> on projects intended to _provide_ those freedoms.

The fact that someone is working or not on a replacement for non-free
software should have no impact on software's eligibility into Debian.  I
hope you realise that it's a ridiculous argument.  (BTW, I work on
projects that provide those freedoms; none of the projects that I am
working on happens to be documentation.  Does that mean I can't decide
what I agree with is a free license for documentation?)

If we close our eyes to this issue and distribute these manuals anyway,
then fewer people will be aware of the issue and the situation will get
worse.  So politically, we are better off standing our ground in the
long term.  It's the same thing with non-free CODECs or whatever.  But
that's only a fringe benefit.  It's not the _reason_ we don't distribute
them.  We don't distribute them because they are non-free software.
Your FSF-free manuals are FSF-non-free software when considering to be
software.  We consider them to be software.

Why are we even debating this anyway?  Nobody is going to convince you
to change your mind.  We have already had this debate and I doubt you'll
change all of Debian's mind now.  This isn't a relevant list to do it.
People are just going to get irritated.


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