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Bug#340705: rar support violates DFSG #4

On Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 07:44:08PM -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > OTOH, if you think my interpretation of DFSG is inadequate, I could try to
> > expose it better, and we could also move this to -legal (perhaps I should have
> > started there in first place).
> Yes, I still disagree with this reasoning.  People of conscience may
> disagree on whether *preventing* the creation of files that can't be read
> with free software is serving the goals of the DFSG.  In the absence of
> agreement on this point, I don't think it's right to treat this as a
> release-critical bug unless the *maintainer* agrees with you.

That suggests if the maintainer disagrees in, say, DFSG #1 ("Debian will remain
100% free"), then we don't have to treat as release-critical an inclussion of
non-free in main.

I think I'll try to expose better my point, and also move it to -legal.

DFSG #4 states:

  "We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free software community.
  We will place their interests first in our priorities."

I think it's very clear that the free software community is harmed by promoting
trap formats like RAR, so I won't extend on that.

For what the needs of our users are concerned, we have basicaly two groups of
users with opposed needs:

  1- A group of users who want to use rar to produce archives.
  2- A group of users who want to extract rar archives produced by the first one.

Reasons why I think the latter group is much bigger than the first:

  - In case user in group #1 is using RAR for private backups/etc, the technical
    disadvantages of using RAR instead of a combination of tar (better
    integration with Un*x file metadata) and p7zip (better compression) indicate
    this is a minority of users.

  - In case user in group #1 is using RAR for distributing data across the
    internet, then for each user doing this, it's logical to expect more than
    one user in group #2 will recieve the file and want to extract it.

  - In popcon, unrar is roughly 5/4 times more popular than rar.  Although this
    info should be taken with a grain of salt, because many users install rar
    with the sole purpose of extracting, or simply because it's in Suggests in
    the packages that are object of this discussion.

Therefore I don't think we're serving the interests of our users or the free
software community first in our priorities.

Robert Millan

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