On Wed, Jun 30, 1999 at 10:47:32AM -0700, Craig Brozefsky wrote: > > I am not arguing this; there are plenty of people out there who have > > the *perception* that we are Bolsheviks. This proposal will give more > > fuel to their fire (can you see the Slashdot comments on an article > > about this plan? I certainly can imagine some, and many of the names > > on them won't be those of trollers). > > Do we act on how others percieve us, or upon our own convictions? > > Honest question. > > I think that fear of a few people disagreeing with the move on > Slashdot or elsewhere is not a reason for us to refrain from doing > it. We act sanely. This means we do not compromise our current position (which some would argue is already compromised---though they IMO have a problem with the social contract and should start there if they wish to change something) just because some new nifty software comes out with an almost free but not quite license. We have defined what we consider free and we have agreed to support non-free software, even though we encourage people not to use it if there's a free alternative that does the job. Sanely also means we don't jump off the deep end and destroy our credibility. If we are truly committed to free software then one of our goals must be to advance awareness of and convince people to use free software---as much of it as possible. I believe another of our goals is to remind people of what free software is exactly. Debian is THE ONLY Linux distributiou I know of that bothers to distinguish at all which packages are free and which are not. Nobody else is doing it and nobody else is likely to. When Debian says something isn't free software, most people will agree that yeah it's non-free. Oh sure anyone can SAY something is or isn't free software but Debian has a reputation for having a very clear definition of free (our DFSG) which is widely accepted and when we determine if something is free or not we also make it known exactly where we see the problem. We also have a reputation for helping people fix these problems. So yeah it does matter what people think of us. We should most certainly tread carefully when it comes to changing our position on things like support for non-free software (I do believe wichert's proposal DOES change that position, even more so if the proposal goes down exactly as Richard Stallman has suggested..) Richard wants us to remove non-free software from our main servers, remove all mention of non-free software from our web pages, and remove mention of non-free software from our installation and config files. I know for certain someone is going to say that's not what Wichert is proposing we do here---but the fact is that Wichert's proposal is so general that I honestly don't know exactly what the implementation of his proposal is going to require. If things happen as Richard would like, non-free will essentially become available only to those who ask "is <something non-free> packaged?" on irc or in an email to the lists.. I don't see how anyone can claim that this would not be hiding non-free from people in the hopes they'll never ask about it. I also don't see how people can say this does not change our current position which is to support our users' choice to use or not use non-free software. This most certainly would require changes to the social contract. I'm not opposing Wichert's proposal. I am reluctant to support it however until I see the planned implementation details, at least until I'm satisfied it will not seriously harm our credibility in the eyes of those we work with to advance the goals of free software. If we're seen as just a bunch of fanatical purists, most people won't listen to the message we're trying to get them to hear. I don't propose we change the message (Eric has demonstrated the results of that---lots of big companies trying to push their way into the community with half-hearted promises and seemingly-but-not-really-free licenses...) If we tread carefully we can make whatever changes are necessary to ensure people can see the differences between free and non-free software. Better that than destroy what we've accomplished by charging ahead. -- Joseph Carter <email@example.com> Debian GNU/Linux developer PGP: E8D68481E3A8BB77 8EE22996C9445FBE The Source Comes First! ------------------------------------------------------------------------- <Knghtbrd> you know, Linux needs a platform game starring Tux <Knghtbrd> kinda Super Marioish, but with Tux and things like little cyber bugs and borgs and that sort of thing ... <Knghtbrd> And you have to jump past billgatus and hit the key to drop him into the lava and then you see some guy that looks like a RMS or someone say "Thank you for rescuing me Tux, but Linus Torvalds is in another castle!"
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