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Re: Honesty in Debian (was Re: Amendment to GR on GFDL, and the changes to the Social Contract

On Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 10:55:57AM +0100, Xavier Roche wrote:
> On Mon, 13 Feb 2006, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > Fonts or documentations are not softwares, for god's sake!
> > everything that is not hardware is software
> So a cat is a software, or a hardware ? Do I have to provide the sources
> (the DNA full sequence) if I want to give a kitten to someone, following
> the "free" spirit ? :p

see you are playing with words, you and me both know exactly what we mean by
hardware and what we mean by software.

And yes, the cat would be hardware, as it is something tangible you can touch.
Imagine you are giving not a cat but a robot that is cat-like in behavior if
you prefer.

> > all the rest is excuses and play with words.
> My opinion is that my holiday pictures aren't neither hardware nor
> software.

you opinion on this is moot, unless you plan to distribute them inside debian

> > Indeed, but they should know (and we should tell them), that the hardware they
> > are buying is not free-software friendly
> Err, I think the problem is that most users *do not care*. They just want
> their card to *work*.

Indeed. So, moving the non-free stuff into non-free, we educate them about
what hardware is free or not, this is a fine balance between our pledge to
support free software and our users. They have the material in non-free,
easily usable (needs some work for installer and kernel right now though), and
we educate them about the non-freeness of their hardware, which satisfies the
free software side of that SC clause.

> I think this more productive to make their card work, AND then tell them
> "this card is working with a non-free piece of thing, meaning that you may
> have problems in the future in case of bugs or after upgrading your
> system. please ask the manufacturer to do something about it"

Indeed, and asking them to get the firmware or driver for them out of non-free
is the most sensible way of doing this.

> > so that they have a chance to vote
> > with their wallet and chose those companies who are friendly to free software
> You mean Mandriva ?

No, like chosing ati over nvidia for graphic cards, or silicon image over
others for SATA cards.

> > when buying hardware, so hiddenly putting non-free software in main, is
> I was talking about firmwares, that is, opaque piece of bits aimed to be
> run on an external, exmbedded system, part of the hartdware.

Like the mips binary which is part of the tg3 (or some other of those) driver
and uploaded to to the mips core on the card in question ? 

Does that mean that we will also distribute binary only drivers for broadcom
wifi chips in main ?

> > counterproductive, while putting it in non-free, and making its use easy if
> > the user wants to, is the right way out of this, and the more (if not only)
> > honest way of dealing with this issue.
> In this case, yes, the solution might be to create a "non-free-data"
> *distributed* and available in standard.

non-free-distributable section, which CD creators can easy add to the CDs, and
people wanting pure-free can include.

The rest of your sentence is somewhat difficult to parse though, maybe you
would rephrase it ? 

> > So, you believe that documentation is hardware, well, this is a sensible
> No more software or hardware than a cat. The world is not binary.

The difference between hardware and software is that hardware is things which
are tangible (which you can count and touch and whatnot), while software is
intangible, available only as data on some kind of media. So, the cat clearly
falls in the hardware category, bad example, try again.


Sven Luther

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