[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Visualboy Advance question.

On Sun, Jun 20, 2004 at 06:36:42PM +0200, Francesco Poli wrote:
> I think that DFSG-free emulators should be in main as long as they don't
> *depend* on non-free packages.
> Usefulness is, IMHO, a completely different matter.

Because, of course, more useless software in main is exactly what we want. 
I don't think that's an argument you want to be pushing too hard.  <grin>

Let me ask you this: if there was an image viewer, which only viewed one
format of images, and there were no images out there in that format, would you
want to see that in Debian?  What if there were images in that format, but
in order to get them you'd have to break copyright law?

That second case is pretty much where we stand with a *lot* of game console
emulators out there -- the only way to get data to use with them is to break
the law.  Wonderful.

This is very, very different to the case with your average image viewer or
script interpreter -- you can create some images yourself, or write a script
to be run.  There's likely to be thousands of the damn things out there
already, for you to use.  Therefore, we can make a reasoned guess that users
will be able to use this software freely.  No such reasoned guess can be
made for console emulators for which no free ROM images exist.

So, if a program is free itself, but cannot be used in a free manner, where
does it go?  Contrib.  Where are the console emulators in question? 
Contrib.  Hmm...

Or, to take it another way entirely: Policy has the following to say (in
part) about the use of dependencies:

The Depends field should be used if the depended-on package is required for
the depending package to provide a significant amount of functionality.

The litmus test here is "a significant amount of functionality", not "will
refuse to work at all without it", although that's a fairly good description
of a console without a ROM.  But I would *certainly* say that doing anything
other than sitting around asking for a ROM image would count as "a
significant amount of functionality".

Your attempted analogy to a python interpreter is flawed, too.  I can type
things in at the >>> prompt and get python to do something.  Can I
reasonably be expected to type things in to a console emulator's dead prompt
and expect to be able to use the emulator for the purpose for which it was
intended?  I would imagine not.

Console emulators are in contrib for good reason -- because they have no use
that we can see without a dependence on non-free material.  SC#1 says "We
will never make the system require the use of a non-free component".  If you
can't practically use a console emulator without resorting to a non-free
image, then we're violating the social contract if it's in main.

- Matt

Reply to: