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Debian is about providing the best free operating system


I have seen numerous times the contra-GR argument that pulling non-free from
our users is violating point 4 of the social contract and detrimental to the
goal of building the best operating system possible. Neither is true, as I
try to explain below.

 Debian is about building the best *free* operatign system

In the preamble of the social contract:
"The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common
cause to create a free operating system."

The social contract does not mention the non-free area until point 5.
Instead, it says in 1 "Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software", and in
4 "Our Priorities are Our Users and Free Software". This can only be read
in reference to the points 1 to 3 above. So, our priorities in building the
free operating system are our users and free software. This is stressed at
the end of point 4, which says: "To support these goals, we will
provide an integrated system of high-quality, 100% free software, with
no legal restrictions that would prevent these kinds of use."

It is not the goal of the Debian group to build the best operating system
possible, at any cost. It is not detrimental to our goal as set forth in
points 1 to 4 in the social contract to remove the contrib and/or non-free
area of the Debian ftp archive, as those areas are not included in those
goals. With or without contrib/non-free, points 1 to 4 of the social
contract can be fulfilled and subscribed to, they are not violated.

I can't understand how someone can read the social contract in a way
which demands that Debian follows the needs of our users even if those
needs are outside of the goal to write a free operating system. The need to
get Debian packages of non-free software from the Debian ftp archive is
certainly outside of the scope of Debians goals (otherwise one should wonder
why point 5 was included in the social contract at all).


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org Check Key server 
Marcus Brinkmann              GNU    http://www.gnu.org    for public PGP Key 
Marcus.Brinkmann@ruhr-uni-bochum.de,     marcus@gnu.org    PGP Key ID 36E7CD09
http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Marcus.Brinkmann/       brinkmd@debian.org

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