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Re: Formal CFV: General Resolution to Abolish Non-Free

Branden Robinson <branden@ecn.purdue.edu> writes:

> On Thu, Jun 08, 2000 at 10:53:26AM -0700, Craig Brozefsky wrote:
> > This would mean a considerable number of broken packages on the Debian
> > archives, where we presently have none (in a theoretical sense).
> But this just isn't true.  For instance, take these freely-licensed old
> hardware emulators that require ROM images from ancient computers/game
> consoles.  These programs will have undeclared dependencies (because of the
> "abandonware" status of what they depend on -- old stuff like this is
> usually very restrictively licensed and thanks to Mary Bono won't be in the
> public domain for at least another 80 years, give or take), but often won't
> be at all useful without them.

I believe I qualified my statement specifically for such cases.
Packages like the hardware emulators and installer packages are why I
qualified it as "considerable number" instead of all contrib packages.
I haven't look in contrib close enough to figure out what percentage
of packages in there have explicit depends on packages that are in
non-free, and which ones have undeclared dependencies on this not even
packaged, or perhaps just quasi-legal.  Perhaps I over-estimated.

> I think we should continue to package DFSG-free software, even with
> dependencies that can't be met, declared or undeclared.  The package
> description, of course, should tell the user how to obtain the materials
> depended on.

One thing that would make allowing for declared dependencies not
realizable in the official debian archive would be some more
sophisticated control of how dependencies can be overridden by the
user.  It would be nice to tell apt-get that don't care what
dependencies packageA has, and to remember that so that it doesn't
complain in the future or give me funny looks about it.

Making the debian archive open-ended, in the sense the dependency do
not have to be realizable within the archive itself, but in other
archives, would be one way of minimizing the technical issues of
seperate non-free from Debian.  This way we can have declared
dependencies were it makes sense, but not have them be such
show-stoppers as they are now.

Craig Brozefsky               <craig@red-bean.com>
Lisp Web Dev List  http://www.red-bean.com/lispweb
---  The only good lisper is a coding lisper.  ---

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