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Re: non-software violates social contract?

On Mon, Aug 26, 2002 at 08:32:47PM -0500, Aaron Swartz wrote:
> [I hope this is the right list for this, please let me know.]

> I've noticed a lot of worrying about things like non-free graphics, 
> non-free fonts and non-free documentation. People file bugs saying they 
> violate the DFSG and thus the social contract. Well, there's a more 
> serious issue here. The social contract says:

> "1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software"

> I think it's clear that graphics fonts and documentation are not 
> software. I could read this requirement two ways:

> 1) Debian is only software and everything else is not allowed in our 
> packages.
> 2) All software in Debian must be free software.

> Unless we're using some weird definition of software, I don't see how 
> one can read this to say everything in Debian must be DFSG-free. I'd 
> suggest that non-free non-software be allowed in Debian. Am I missing 
> something?


This issue has already been discussed at length, with no clear consensus
arising to date (here or elsewhere).  You can check the list archives for
the history of the debate.

An alternative interpretation is that "Debian Will Remain 100% Free
Software" means that anything that isn't software is outside the scope of
our mandate, so it must be possible to regard everything in our archive
as software; it must be both Free and Software to be included in Debian.
As the Social Contract says nothing at all about non-software, there is
no clear endorsement of distributing non-software -- let alone *non-free*

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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