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Re: Clarifications

On Sun, Jun 11, 2000 at 10:54:46PM -0400, Colin Walters wrote:
> If Debian is truly a "free operating system for my computer", then I
> see no contradiction in ceasing to distribute non-free software from
> the Debian FTP sites.
> Perhaps this is not what Debian really is though?  Many Debian
> developers (and users) seem to feel that non-free is a critical part
> of the Debian project.
> If this is true, then certainly the web page should be changed.  After
> all, it is probably the first thing that someone visiting the Debian
> web page for the first time will read.  
> I certainly do not claim to say what Debian is.  I am not even a
> developer.  But distributing proprietary software and yet still
> claiming Debian is a "free operating system" seems inconsistent.

non-free is not part of the distribution (operating system). We provide
it as a service to our users, because we acknowledge that many of our
users will need to use some non-free programs (like netscape).
It's just an add-on, like contrib.

So why do we need to manage it and distribute it from our servers?
Because that's the best way to maintain quality control. Add-on packages
from the Debian project must meet the Debian project's policy, which
at least ensures that the package will install cleanly and not ruin
your system. They must be signed by the uploader just like packages
in the main system. They are accountable through the same bug
tracking system.

We could manage non-free separately but quality control would suffer.
That is not in the best interest of our users, I'm sure you'll agree.

Let's create the add-ons directory and move contrib and non-free
in there, as Anthony proposed. (I already seconded that.) That's good
enough to show it's not part of the distribution, but to ensure quality
at the same time. At present we claim that non-free and
contrib are not part of Debian but it sure looks like it on the FTP
site, I'll agree.

Hamish Moffatt VK3SB <hamish@debian.org> <hamish@cloud.net.au>

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