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Re: Questions to all candidates

On Sat, Mar 08, 2003 at 05:12:04PM +1100, Martin Michlmayr wrote:
> > What shall be done if there is a conflict between "user" and "freedom".
> >  [X] Freedom rules!
> >  [ ] User rules!                             (I hope no one picks this.)
> >  [X] Seek amicable compromise
> We should try to achieve a compromise, but in the end, we should
> preserve our freedom and that of our users.

I've got to say that I find this pretty disconcerting. Our priorities
are our users and free software -- how can we possibly hope to *never*
under any circumstances be focussing primarily on the good of our users?

I realise everyone's going to immediately justify this as "but freedom's
good for our users", and not think about this at all anymore, but what
the hell, I'll go on anyway.

Personally, I think freedom's only good *because* it serves our users
needs, and that that's the only way to judge what's "free" and what's not.
Likewise, I personally don't think we should be worrying about some
indistinct principle to the detriment of real live people [0].

Some examples of where conflict might or do occur:

	* Distributing non-free software at all
	* Distributing non-free software on the main Debian ftp site
	* Allowing BSD w/ advertising clause software into main
	* Allowing the GFDL, AGPL, RPSL into main
	* Allowing unmodifiable standards documents into main
	* Distributing GFDL, AGPL, RPSL licensed stuff at all
	* Distributing unmodifiable standards documents at all
	* Disputes about freeness where software's already in the archive 
	  and being used

There are probably others -- that disputes come up rarely shows that our
priorities are largely mutually supportive; but instinctively resolving
all the above without regard to supporting our users does not strike me
as a remotely good thing.

Which isn't to say that that's what any of the canidates will actually
do, but it's very close to what the above is leaning towards.


[0] Note that this is what *I* think, not necessarily what Debian thinks.
    Debian ranks free software as a goal in and of itself, that does
    not need to be justified.

Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

  ``Dear Anthony Towns: [...] Congratulations -- 
        you are now certified as a Red Hat Certified Engineer!''

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