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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On Sun, Jun 11, 2000 at 12:54:34AM +0200, Marek Habersack wrote:
> No, it isn't. I see that *right now* (and *right now* is when you created
> your GR) there is no morally honest way to take the software from our users.

This is not at all clear.  After all, the entire argument for removing
non-free is based on morality.

The question here is one of competing moral requirements, and the
tension between them.  To many of us - indeed, a majority by my count
- the current situation is immoral (perhaps not more immoral than
depriving our users of support, but immoral nonetheless).  It's a
"lesser of two evils" question, and those are never simple.

You may disagree as to where the "high moral ground" lies, but let's
not make assertions about the morality of others.  That way lies

> As someone said before - instead of cheap talk that started because from your GR
> we should make every effort to create replacements for the non-free software
> in question. More, I think that right now *you*, John Goerzen, are morally
> responsible for making every effort to provide the users with replacements
> for the software. You can do it in any way you want, but only after you
> succeed you will have *any* right to issue another GR, this time supported
> by facts carved solid in stone.

He has suggested some replacements.  For the rest, there's nothing
wrong with telling people to get it themselves if they need it.

After all, it's not like John is going around with a hit squad nuking
the non-free software installed on Debian machines he finds.

John's point is that our distribution of non-free software constitutes
a tacit endorsement of that software and its license, and that the
time may come when the benefit to our users for that endorsement is
not worth the hypocrisy of it.  Indeed, John's proposal is that this
time has already come.

> I don't like that kind of attitude you represent.

I am even more opposed to the attitude you represent - namely, the
attitude that believing something, and proposing something, that
disagrees with Marek Habersack's personal views is morally repugnant.
Stop it!

> You come and shout that
> you know what is the best for our users, for developers without even trying
> to listen to what they *really* need.

No one is suggesting that this is being done for the good of our
users.  Everyone I've seen has been pretty clear that this has the
potential to suck for our users, and even the best case has a lot of

Rather, the argument is that "need" is not a moral absolute, and that
other moral positions may trump this in certain circumstances.

> You have your mantra and nothing else
> matters - you're deaf to arguments, to what *users* and *developers* say.

On the contrary, John has been responding pretty well - to AJ, for
example.  He hasn't been swayed by the arguments, but that's his
right.  Or do you expect him to disengage his brain when confronted
with the Word from the High Holy Cabal (or whoever)?

Should I start accusing you of fanaticism just because you haven't
kowtowed to his vastly superior opinion?

> That reminds me of all those TV preachers in the USA who seem to know best
> what people should do to be happy. That reminds me (as I wrote before) my
> country and all the other communist country where everybody in the govt.
> knew better what people needed, didn't care to listen to them...

"John Goerzen is as nasty as Jim Bakker and Joseph Stalin."

Care to finish off the debate and make the obligatory Godwin

> ...and yet was
> saying that he's doing this or that "for the people". 

Which he has never said.

> I, on the contrary,
> think about users, about what they need,

"I, on the other hand, am pure in spirit as Mother Teresa and
righteous as Moses on the mountain.  Fear me.  Heed me.  Think not,
and consider not the arguments of the infidel, lest ye be consumed in
the fires of iniquity."

> ergo, I'm
> against removing the non-free *now* because it hurts our users, which is in
> contradiction with the point 4 of the Social Contract and is simply an
> unjustified act of political selfishness. 

So far, the only demonstrably true statement you've made.

Now, let *me* put it in plain English:

No one in this debate is morally repugnant, nasty, or odious because
they hold one position or the other on this.  They simply have
different views on several issues, and are acting from that basis.

Should you stop shouting long enough to listen (maybe you've been
listening to our users too much :-), maybe you could be enlightened a
bit.  Not that you'd suddenly agree with anyone; you might, however,
be a bit more effective in convincing people like me (who are
undecided on the resolution and don't know how to vote yet) that your
position is valid.

After all, ranting and raving isn't going to stop the force of the
vote, whichever way it goes.  All that can be done is change the
direction of the vote.  And that is not done by painting your
opponents with every moral vilification known to mortal man.

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