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Re: On the lets-remove-nonfree-proposal

On Wed, Jul 19, 2000 at 01:05:24PM +0200, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> Instead, opposers of the GR tried to push the supporters in a
> radical position. Now they find out that this is not the case,
> and find themself loosing this argument. To continue arguing
> about this issue in this way is really a poor style of
> argumentation, and shows that you have done little to try to
> understand the stance of the supporters of the GR how they see it.

I forgot to CC my reply to this list, but here's a summary.

I personally see two goals for Debian:
1. Produce a high quality, open source UNIX system.
2. Introduce people to open source ideals.

#1 is not in doubt and I think we are succeeding.

However, I think this GR compromises #2. For example, right now
it's not seriously possible to browse the web without Netscape
Communicator. If a user installs Debian or browses our web site
and sees that we do not offer Netscape, that user will not install
Debian. They will install Red Hat, who are not really interested
on goal #2 but more interested in their bottom line. Or worse,
they will install Solaris or Windows. We lose our opportunity
to show them the benefits of open source (goal #2).

Now if we keep non-free, we might get that user on board.
Over time they will see the benefit of open source
through goal #1 -- the quality of our product. And then
we will achieve goal #2.

I think we can get more people in the door by keeping non-free.
When we've got them in the door, we can teach them why they
don't need non-free and why it's not desirable to use it.
If we nuke non-free, we lose those people forever.

OK, so the GR proposes we move non-free off .debian.org and
not actually nuke it. Will we have links on .debian.org?
Will a prospective user be able to successfully search for
Communicator on www.debian.org? I think the GR's intention
is to purify debian.org completely, so I very much doubt
that search will succeed. A third party site just isn't
the same. It won't be a part of Debian, and that is the

Removing non-free will not bring about an awareness of
open source ideals. Keeping it will.

Thanks for listening. Thoughtful replies most welcome.

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

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