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Bug#594542: debian-policy: add descriptions for main, contrib, and non-free archive areas


Your text accommodates almost all of my ideas while being simpler,
clearer and minefield-avoiding.  So I enthusiastically endorse it.

However, I do wish that we could figure out how to write a
minefield-avoiding third sentence for your paragraph on the main archive
area that definitively asserts (what I believe we all know to be true)
that Debian main is more or less a guarantee that the software therein is
freely usable (and distributable) in the broadest sense.  That is, that
Debian main is unreservedly usable for personal, non-profit, for-profit,
or, in short, for any purpose.

But I'm blanking on text that would work.

On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 10:38:14AM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> CJ Fearnley <cjf@CJFearnley.com> writes:
> > Especially since the main, contrib, and non-free archive areas are not
> > described anywhere else (as far as I can tell), it would be helpful if
> > some descriptive text were added to explain the intent of policy.  I
> > suggest the following in the hopes that others will flesh out the
> > descriptions to be more accurate and complete than my first cut:
> > 2.2.1 The main archive area
> > The main archive area is where the core of the Debian GNU/Linux system
> > lives.  All of the software in main can stand alone as a fully
> > operational system without any software from contrib or non-free.  The
> > software included in main is vetted to ensure compliance with policy and
> > the DFSG.  In addition it does not depend on any software outside main,
> > it is believed to be wholly unencumbered by patents, and is believed to
> > have no legal encumbrances that could affect users or our ftp archive
> > operators.
> I think we need to say explicitly that only main is part of the Debian
> distribution.  I'd also rather not add any mentions of legal vetting other
> than referring to the DFSG, since this is a bit of a minefield.  How
> about:
>     The main archive area comprises the Debian GNU/Linux distribution;
>     only the packages in this area are considered part of the
>     distribution.  None of the packages in the main archive area require
>     software outside of that area to function.
> and then going on to the language already there, which already requires
> that all the packages comply with the DFSG.
> > 2.2.2 The contrib archive area
> > The contrib archive area is where fully policy compliant and DFSG free
> > software is put that depends on or recommends non-free software or
> > software that is otherwise unavailable within Debian.  Contrib software
> > is believed to be wholly unencumbered by patents and to have no legal
> > encumbrances that could affect users or our ftp archives.  However,
> > contrib software usually requires using either non-free software or
> > software that is otherwise not available or not policy compliant.
>     The contrib archive area contains supplemental packages intended to
>     work with the Debian GNU/Linux distribution, but which require
>     software outside of the distribution to either build or function.
>     Apart from this requirement, all software in the contrib archive area
>     complies with the DFSG and with the policy requirements in this
>     manual.
> > 2.2.3 The non-free archive area
> > The non-free archive area is where software that is freely
> > redistributable, but not fully policy compliant (which can be as simple
> > as failing the software build requirements) or not DFSG free, or is
> > encumbered by patents or is affected by other legal issues that could
> > affect our users or our ftp infrastructure.
>     The non-free archive area contains supplemental packages intended to
>     work with the Debian GNU/Linux distribution that do not comply with
>     the DFSG or have other problems that make their distribution
>     problematic.  They may not comply with all of the policy requirements
>     in this manual due to restrictions on modifications or other
>     limitations.
> I don't think any of the above changes anything normative, so once we
> reach consensus on the wording I can go ahead and apply this.
> -- 
> Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

We are on a spaceship; a beautiful one.  It took billions of years to develop.
We're not going to get another.  Now, how do we make this spaceship work?
  -- Buckminster Fuller

CJ Fearnley                |  Explorer in Universe
cjf@CJFearnley.com         |  "Dare to be Naive" -- Bucky Fuller
http://www.CJFearnley.com  |  http://blog.remoteresponder.net/

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