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Re: free, freer, freest

Bruce Sass wrote:
> I believe the intent is to go further than that; specifically, to
> eventually purge Debian of anything considered non-free by GNU
> standards.

Debian uses the DFSG as its definition of Freeness.  Your last few posts
have tried to portray Debian as weak-willed because there are areas
where GNU and Debian ideals intersect.  By painting GNU as an agressor
trying to force its ideals upon Debian, you attempt to tickle the
natural rebellious tendencies that Debian members (and all humans) have.
This attempt is transparent and a little insulting.

I would be happy to see the day where Debian is purged of all software
that is not free (by Debian standards).  Not because I hate the non-free
software, but because the Free software preferable.  Debian should
eventually drop non-free software because it is simply not needed.
Once there are high-quality, Free packages for everything we want
to do with our computer, then also distributing freedom-impaired
software would just be silly.

Like most things in life, the GNU GPL is a compromise.  It restricts
your freedom (minimally) in order to promote freedom in a larger sense.
On balance, more freedom is created than taken away.
I fail to see how you can have a problem with the small restrictions
in the GPL when you do not seem to have a problem with the much
more numerous and destructive restrictions of proprietary software.
You claim that free software can coexist with proprietary software, but
don't seem to allow for (your definition of) free software coexisting
with GPL'd software.

Like the GPL, Debian is also a compromise.  We distribute non-free
software in order to promote Free software.  I hope that there will
come a day in which our goal or providing the best distribution
for our users does not have to conflict with our goal of promoting
Free software.  I also hope that we do not blindly chase utility
and convenience for our users to the point where we forget the
importance of Free software.

A Diversionary Story:

When I was much younger, I had a dog named "BowWow" (I know... stupid name).
We kept BowWow in the backyard, with a fence to keep him in.  BowWow
wanted to explore the world outside of his fence, and the best way
for him to accomplish this goal was to dig.
BowWow would dig and dig for hours on end at the base of the fence.
He wasn't a big dog, and the fence extended downwards a ways, so this
process lasted several months.

One day the hole at the base of the fence was big enough for BowWow to
slip through.  He wiggled underneath the fence, and found himself
on the other side, the side of Freedom.  You want to know what that
dog did?  He turned right around and started digging another hole
next to his original one.  He had gotten so involved in the process
of digging that he forgot his original reason for doing it.

> Since GNU is somewhat intolerant of what it does not consider to be free
> software... if Debian was to bow to GNU's wishes it would be less free
> than it is now.  Devising a way for users to conciously choose between a
> pure free software system and a mostly free software system would result
> in a Debian that appears freer than it is now (because it offers more
> choices to the user).  The apparent lack of Netscape and ssh (for new
> Debian users) that would be the result of adopting the changes (as I
> understand them) could be seen as making Debian somewhat incomplete
> (therefore second rate).

Bruce, I hope that your rhetoric does not make us forget why we are


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