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Re: Debian Maintainer Application

On Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 03:23:03PM +0100, Simon Josefsson wrote:
> I have chosen not to apply as debian developer at this point because I
> have hesitations about being a "full" member of an organization that
> help non-free software; through the contrib/non-free sections,
> shipping non-free firmware and the like.  Still, the amount of useful
> contributions debian makes to the free software community is
> significant, and the alternatives to debian are usually even less free
> or too insignificant.  So I feel comfortable helping debian where I
> can.

There is a theory that supporting non-free software brings more users to
free software, who may then be convinced about the philosophy behind
free software.  Of course there is another theory that supporting
non-free software is in the way of convincing people, because you sort
of tell them that "it's ok to use non-free software".

Both theories are probably true, and the effects of course work against
each other.  I'm very happy that Debian clearly separates main from the
rest, so I can easily use only free software with it.  If other people
want to use non-free software, I am not going to stop them (although I
am advising them to stop ;-) ).  The Social Contract doesn't really say
more than that: we must not obstruct other people when they want to work
with non-free software.  As you apply for DM, you also accept to agree
with that, btw.

I'm not saying you should apply to become a DD.  It's your choice if you
want that.  But I think Debian has a very good way to deal with non-free
software: allow people who want to work on it to do what they want,
while making it easy to not see it at all.  It allows supporters of both
theories to do things their way.


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