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Re: The Gordian Knot (was Re: Negative Summary of the Split Proposal)

Ean R . Schuessler <ean@novare.net> wrote:
> I think that it is far more valuable if we present the oppurtunities
> to use non-free software to our users, but are certain to embed a
> message which represents our views while doing so. For instance, if
> the website package search system could offer a check box like:
>   []  Check this box if you would like to see non-free software in
>       your search results.  
>       SYSTEM! 
>       Software that isn't free reduces the flexibility and control over 
>       your Debian GNU/Linux operating system. In all cases you should 
>       try to use a free package instead of a non-free one. We provide 
>       this search facility only as a convenience to users that have some 
>       specific dependence on proprietary software. To read more about 
>       why you shouldn't use non-free software read 
>       http://www.gnu.org/philosophy.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there additional risks?

For example, if you're on a work machine you shouldn't be using
non-free software with a "non-commercial work only" clause (ok,
gambc is an example).

And, I vaugely recall some shareware being in non-free (ok, rar
is an example).


Now, I found both of these by looking at package descriptions.
But we don't require people to look at package descriptions before
installing the packages.  Yes, they should, and if they're in
dselect we've made it fairly likely, but if we have a check box
for this issue we really ought to mention that the person may not
be allowed to use it and that they need to read the license to
determine that for themself.

[At which point there will be some clamor for a way of reading
the licenses inside dselect...]

Also, from the viewpoint of not being liable for other people's
mistakes (contributory infringement), we really do have a
legal obligation here.

Also, from the viewpoint of going along with the author's desires
from the software (and making the safe -- though perhaps false --
assumption that the copyright license is a reflection of the
author's wishes) we also have something of a moral obligation here.


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