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Re: Proposal - non-free software removal

On 15 Nov 2002, John Hasler wrote:
> Bruce writes:
> > I'm worried that if Debian totally ignores the non-free software world,
> > it will ignore Debian.
> Do you understand what the non-free archive is?

Yes, since Debian 1.3,

when I read the Social Contract, saw what was
available, then decided this was the OS for me because:

1) it would install on the 4M RAM, 40M HDD laptop
2) was expandable from tiny to a full Linux OS
3) the DFSG != GPL
  (I do not believe in fighting fire with fire,
   but that is a whole other discussion)

Casting off non-free changes 3) to DFSG = GPL-like,
which puts 2) at risk; 1) hasn't been there for awhile.

Debian dumping non-free would result in a Linux OS that, if it had
happened pre-1.3, would have just been another of the Linux varieties
to choose from (each with their own set of limitations), and if it
happens tomorrow... would yield a Linux that I, ifI was still new to
Linux, would rate lower than .rpm based distributions.

I just don't see a difference between trying to force `free' and
trying to force `proprietary', and would be saddened to see what I saw
as distinguishing Debian from the others, disappear.

> > I think a much better solution would be for Debian to find a
> > multi-national commercial partner to take over non-free...
> Why would such a company want to?

If I was a company I would certainly be hesitant to do anything with
Debian because it seems to have a problem with people making money off
software.  So, ya, good question, why would a company support Debian's
cast off non-free archive.

However, if Debian was looking for a commercial partner because it was
unable to do a decent job of supporting non-free software (an
understandable lack of developer interest), but was still interested
in its users having a choice within the framework of Debian's way of
doing things, well, that would be a whole other story--in which case
you may as well ask why any company would want to support any OS it
didn't control.

- Bruce

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