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Re: snippets

On Wed, Oct 01, 2003 at 08:12:25PM -0600, Barak Pearlmutter wrote:
| I think people are underestimating a couple things:

And I think that you are grossly exaggerating what are essentially

|  - the lack of benefit of removing snippets (so far no convincing
|    practical advantage of removing them has been forthcoming.  The
|    best argument made was "translations" but as others have pointed
|    out that's a pretty weak argument.)

The benefit of removing non-free snippets that we know about is that
Debian continues to remain, to the best of our knowledge, 100% Free
Software as the social contract requires it to.

|  - the enormous number of snippets.  I would be surprised if fewer
|    than 10% of our source tarballs contain snippets.  Maybe a lot more.

That doesn't affect the case for removing any such snippets when we
become aware of their non-free status.

|  - the difficulty of finding them.  enormous task.

No-one is suggesting that we begin an auditing crusade to remove all of
the non-free snippets that may or may not exist in Debian.  On the other
hand, when we become aware of the existence of any non-free snippets,
Debian should be obliged (ny the social contract) to remove them in
order to remain 100% Free Software.

|     + lots of bickering would start to happen

Meh, what do you think we're doing now? :-P

I suggest that if maintainers were considered to be intentionally not
upholding the social contract by knowingly distributing non-free
snippets with their Debian packages, then this would be likely to cause
a lot of bickering.

|     + many patch files would be incompatible, and we'd have to deal
|       with these manually all the time.

Er, what?  Surely if the snippets are non-modifiable -- which is the
problem, after all -- not to mention unrelated to the program's purpose,
then there's no reason to patch them?

|  - the problems with double standards
|     + if we remove snippets (ie consider them dingleberries) whenever
|       we find them, then some will be removed and others won't.

How is this any worse than a perceived double-standard in the case where
some packages are known to distribute arbitrary non-free files and yet
are allowed into main, while other packages are 100% Free Software?

|       people will figure this out, and start bloating out their
|       licenses with the materials they used to put in snippets.

I think you over-estimate the importance people attach to their
snippets, and their snippets' inclusion in Debian.

|     + license bloat & proliferation: due to the above double standard
|       wrt political text in licenses, pretty soon we'll see all kinds
|       of license bloat, and proliferation as people get into the
|       habit of putting crap in their licenses.

Once again, I see no reason to believe that this is ever likely to

|       Result: snippet-wars, with people looking for snippets in
|       packages to complain about, as a matter of revenge/symmetry.

Assuming that this is ever a likely to occur as a result of removing
non-free snippets from Debian, isn't this outcome rather similar to an
audit of Debian for non-free snippets, something which you complained
was an unfeasibly large task for anyone to attempt?

| right to decide to embark on this potentially very disruptive course
| without full consultation with the body of debian.

Are you really implying that upholding Debian's Social Contract is a
"potentially very disruptive" course?



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