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

Re: our users as one of our priorities

On Thu, Feb 27, 2003 at 01:21:38PM -0700, Bdale Garbee wrote:
> When the Social Contract was originally drafted, the title "Our Priorities 
> are Our Users and Free Software" was meant to strike a balance between meeting
> the needs of those who would use Debian and the idealism of the Free Software
> movement that we emerged from.  The most concrete example of this balance is
> the existence of non-free.

That was a balance that was struck years ago, and I think most people
feel that the non-free section is of considerably less importance now
than it was in 1997, even if some of them don't feel that it's
unimportant enough now that we can just drop it[1].

Moreover, I think clause 4 of the Social Contract will continue to have
meaning even if the world changes and we live in some Utopia where all
software is Free.  I do not think that our distribution of non-free
software is a mandatory -- or even a very important -- consequence of
clause 4 (I suspect people felt this way even at the time it was
drafted, else we wouldn't have needed clause 5 ["Programs That Don't
Meet Our Free-Software Standards"]).

I do realize though, that there are some people who argue that to drop
non-free from our archives is a fundamental betrayal.  With those
arguments I must disagree, even if I no longer have as much hope as I
once did that dropping non-free is a proposition that most developers
are willing to accept.

My impression from my the answers to my questionnaire[2] is that
non-free is primarily a matter of convenience, not principle, and that
most respondents feel that the non-free section can be dropped once it
no longer provides enough convenience to be worthwhile as maintenance
project for Debian.  (Some, of course, feel that that point has already
been reached.)

> While Debian cares more about quality and freedom than about seeking market
> share in the traditional, commercial sense...  One of the many ways that 
> members of the Debian community are "rewarded" for their efforts, and receive
> positive feedback that encourages them to continue to do things, is when the
> work they do is appreciated and used by others.  

I agree that actually having users is a very useful component of quality
assurance.  :)

[1] for our esteemed Project Secretary, I'm guessing that day will never
    come, unless angband is relicensed to be DFSG-free :)
[2] by the way, I have started to publish the results at
    http://people.debian.org/~branden/dpl_questionnaire -- please be
    patient, as it takes time to "anonymize" the replies

G. Branden Robinson                |    I have a truly elegant proof of the
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    above, but it is too long to fit
branden@debian.org                 |    into this .signature file.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

Attachment: pgpWqNCVM1Pkh.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: