On Sat, May 01, 1999 at 01:04:48PM -0700, Chris Waters wrote: > The availability of *any* free option to make the software work makes > the software qualify for main. But if *all* the options involve the > use of non-free software, then it goes in contrib. Thank you for spelling this out, it's exactly what I meant. I said something on IRC that communicated a related idea. Debian does not desire to *prevent* anyone from using non-free software or services. However, part of our committment to free software means informing people that their choices may have been restriced *by* non-free software. Therefore, we don't care that people use a free web browser, like lynx, to visit web sites run by Microsoft IIS. The individual is empowered to visit whatever web sites he chooses, may improve his browser, and may pass it along to this friends to they can browse the web as well. We *do* care if, say, Apple comes up with some kind of streaming media server and patents the codec. They release the viewer/playback engine under a free license, but the encoder/authoring tool is proprietary, and furthermore they have a patent on the codec algorithm, so no one can even try (legally) to reverse-engineer it and release a competing authoring tool under the GPL. Do we put the player into main? This example is a bit less clear than the ICQ example, but let's think about it. Does this scenario really do anything for free software? You're allowed to eat, but not to cook. This shackles you to the restauranteurs. Schemes like this are just another way to tie users to proprietary interests, usually corporations. It is not consonant with the principles of free software. We should think hard about these issues, and not just rubber-stamp things into main. -- G. Branden Robinson | "There is no gravity in space." Debian GNU/Linux | "Then how could astronauts walk around firstname.lastname@example.org | on the Moon?" cartoon.ecn.purdue.edu/~branden/ | "Because they were wearing heavy boots."
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