[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Removing non-free - reality check.

Thanks, knghtbrd, for your summary.

 (I don't cc you on your request.  I add cc to debian-vote
  where I read your mail.)

In article <20000608104135.B18829@debian.org>,
  at Thu, 8 Jun 2000 10:41:35 -0700,
 Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org> writes:

> - We're talking about doing this in woody right?  Woody is going to take
>   another 8-10 months to release, get realistic here.  There is talk of
>   putting out another release in 6 months or less, but is that really
>   practical?  I think it isn't since the differences between potato and
>   woody already promise to be greater than those between slink and potato
>   were.  I wouldn't be surprised if it takes us a year to get woody out
>   the door.  If you think that's not enough time for things like Mozilla
>   to mature, perhaps the distribution after woody should be targetted
>   instead.

The old story "The North Wind and the Sun" tells us something, I think.
If we can believe that any member of "the Free Software Community" won't 
need any non-free softwares when woody releases, then let them alone.
(I think that users are members of "the Free Software Community".
That community can not consists of only authors and maintainers.
Note that the Debian project itself used some "non-free" softwares.
Users may take some longer time to complete the transition.)

Softwares which no one needs will self-demise, without intervention.
Persecution will make Martyrs, and it will make difficult to enlighten
people about the value of the Free Software.

And since there are many users who use and test the unstable system,
I think if we decide now to drop the non-free area from our ftp archive, 
then at least the distribution after woody should be targetted.

I hope the time extended will work in some cases to ask authors (or
copyright holders) to change their licenses conforming to our DFSG. 

And, some packages in non-free can be converted to contrib one, in
that extended time.  There are already "source only" package in non-free 
area.  I think they can be modified to the script to get the source from
some place, and to build the local only package to use on the system
(something such like "ports" system on FreeBSD).

If the script itself is DFSG compatible, then it can belong to contrib,
and users can use it if they severely need to do so.

> - This would doubtless happen with much of the non-free software we have
>   today if we chose to remove that section from the distribution.  Oops, I
>   mean the archive.  A number of other people have made that mistake in
>   this discussion unintentionally.  This IS an issue.  Does Debian
>   distribute non-free software or not?

We say "Official Debian" does not includes the contrib and non-free area,
and I believe so. "The official Debian system" which has been distributed
has never included the contrib and non-free.

But as policy states, we "make accessible" the package in non-free and
contrib, and provide infrastructure for them.

2. The Debian Archive

     The Debian GNU/Linux system is maintained and distributed as a
     collection of _packages_.  Since there are so many of them (over 2600)
     they are split into _sections_ and _priorities_ to simplify handling
     of them.

     The effort of the Debian project is to build a free operating system,
     but not every package we want to make accessible is _free_ in our
     sense (see Debian Free Software Guidelines, below), or may be
     imported/exported without restrictions.  Thus, the archive is split
     into the sections _main_, _non-us_, _non-free_, and _contrib_.

     The _main_ section forms the _Debian GNU/Linux distribution_.

     Packages in the other sections are not considered as part of the
     Debian distribution, though we support their use, and we provide
     infrastructure for them (such as our bug-tracking system and mailing
     lists).  This Debian Policy Manual applies to these packages as well.

So, if the phrase "Does Debian distribute non-free software or not?"
means "The Debian Project makes accessible the non-free packages ?",
then answer is Yes. 

But if it means "The Official Debian System includes the non-free softwares ?"
then answer is No.

  Taketoshi Sano: <sano@debian.org>,<sano@debian.or.jp>,<kgh12351@nifty.ne.jp>

Reply to: