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Re: snippets

On Sunday, Sep 28, 2003, at 21:35 US/Eastern, Barak Pearlmutter wrote:

(1) Allowing snippets to be included is the current Debian practice,
 so the burden of proof is on those who would propose to remove them
 to show a compelling reason for doing so.

I propose that a compelling reason is the first clause of the Social Contract, which dictates we remain 100% free software, by the DFSG. The license (distribute widely, don't modify) of these works clearly fails the DFSG.

So, a compelling reason is that it violates our Social Contract. This has always been a compelling reason to remove non-free software, no matter how long it has been distributed by us.

(2) No practical problems have arisen from allowing snippets to be
 included.  No one has proposed any gedanken practical problem.

So long as freedom isn't a practical problem, I suppose.

 Generally we decide that something is bad (a violation of the DFSG or
 social contract) because we come up with a gedanken problem with it.

No, we routinely say things are non-free because they can't be modified, can't be used for commercial purposes, can't be used to design nukes, etc.

 This has served as an excellent acid test, and has kept debian-legal
 grounded and effective despite its chaotic nature.

No, the DFSG and our commitment to freeness have done that.

(3) Snippets can help people understand the circumstances surrounding
 the creation of some software, understand the author, and in general
 be edifying educational and entertaining.

Agreed, they can. Non-free software can be useful, too. Usefulness is not a criterion for freeness.

*** A "snippet" is a file in a source tarball which:

Oooh, ooh, can we put xroach back in as a snipet? Its not technical --- its a small toy --- and its not free (as we found out years after we started distributing it). Why limit it to a single file in a source tarball? Why not a whole deb --- it's tiny compared to the 10,000 others that make up Debian.

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