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Re: Software in main that is throughly useless without non-free software

John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org> writes:

> James Troup <james@nocrew.org> writes:
> > upload his netscape-base (IIRC) to main.  The package (like tik) was
> > undoubtedly DFSG free (Adam wrote it), but without netscape it served
> > no useful purpose.  I think free software which depends on non-free
> > software to be useful belongs in contrib.  I think this is the spirit
> > of the policy manual, but it's certainly not explicitly stated there.
> First, you are removing a very important distinction: You have no
> control over what is on the other end of the connection.

Eh?  So what? 

> Secondly, "useful" is vague.

Yes, it is vague.  I was not proposing an amendment to policy, I was
posting a FYI note.  As I had hoped Branden extrapolated on the point
far better than I ever could have.

> What is useful?

How about `what the majority of people who want to use the application
would use it for?'  That's just a rough idea.  As I've said, it was
just a quick note. 

> Back to the first point.  Perhaps I use lynx exclusively for
> e-commerce, and the only sites I use are running non-free servers.
> Thus, lynx is not useful without non-free software.

*to you*.  I had hoped people would agree that tik is not useful
without the server.  It seems so obvious to me...

> > Note: the problem here is the *exclusively* non-free nature of
> > required software; if there was a free server to connect to
> > (e.g. with samba, you don't _need_ to connect to a M$ server), I
> > wouldn't have a problem with it being in main.
> But that's not correct.  The program can start, and it can run, on a
> machine with solely free software.  contrib is for things that
> cannot even do that without non-free software.

Well you could make a fake QT which allowed things to start up, but
nothing more.  Could we then put programs in main with a fakeqt | qt

> You are penalizing a piece of free software because another piece of
> free software, perhaps not even for Unix, doesn't exist yet. 

Well *DUH*, that's the case with any free software in contrib which is
linked against a library for which a free equivalent doesn't exist.

> ICQ clients are in the same boat.  They have been allowed into main.

It wasn't me that accepted them?

> Please don't reject something simply because it's from AOL.

Please don't troll.  I already said on IRC that it's got *nothing* to
do with what the software is or who it comes from.  If samba couldn't
connect to anything but a Microsoft server and it was a NEW package, I
would reject it also, and I _rely_ on Samba for my daily job.


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