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Re: snippets [was Re: Respect for Upstream Authors and Snippets of Interest]

> >  - Debian is absolutely *rife* with such snippets.
> >  - This is because upstream tarballs are absolutely rife with them.
> >  - Scanning our sources for them would be a gargantuan undertaking.
> >  - They'd keep sneaking back in.
> All of these apply to ordinary bugs much better than to snippets.

Upstream authors generally integrate debianogenic bug fixes, and do
their best to not have bugs, so that's not really true.  Besides which
Debian does not attempt to guarantee that all packages have no bugs,
but you are proposed that we endeavor to ensure that all packages have
no snippets.  In other words, the cases are completely different.

> >  - It would be a major change in practice.
> >  - No other free software organization eschews such snippets.
> I disagree with the premises of those two, as well.  For instance: no
> other free software organization edits out the non-free fonts from
> XFree86 or the non-free firmware from the linux kernel; and this seems
> like a relatively minor change, as changes in Debian go.

I'm not sure I follow your reasoning there.  Your email address
implies that you are associated with a math department, so let me
phrase this in mathematical jargon: a proof of this form

    A -> B
    A -> C
    Therefore: B and C are the same

is not valid.

The difference between B and C here is that firmware without source
denies to users their fundamental right to understand and modify the
software that controls their computer.  Similarly, the non-free
xfonts-scalable-nonfree do not allow distribution of modified
versions.  This denies to a user who has modified such a font in order
to improve the function of his computer the right to help his friends
improve their displays as well.

No such problems occur with "snippets."


(I'm including this to keep things from drifting off-topic)

*** A "snippet" is a file in a source tarball which:
***  - MERELY ACCOMPANIES and is not an integral part of the source
***  - is REMOVABLE
***  - is NON-FUNCTIONAL (not code, not documentation, not needed for build)
***  - is NON-TECHNICAL in nature
***  - is usually of historic, humorous, or prurient interest
***  - is usually NOT itself MODIFIABLE, eg "may redistribute verbatim"
***  - is very SMALL compared to the technical material it accompanies
*** (examples of such snippets are historic or humorous emails and
*** usenet posts, political essays, jokes, and the like.)

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