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Revoking non-free less violently

Instead of severing non-free all at once, why not try and phase it out
more progressively?

I would propose the next release include a package that periodically
checks what non-free packages are installed. The results would be sent
to a Debian server for statistics gathering. The user would be
prompted to enable the feature of course, and the opportunity would
be taken to educate the user about what why this is being done.

With the count of installed packages on hand, a schedule could be
created. Each month, a number of packages could be assigned a 3 month
sunset date, starting with the least-popular packages, and estimates
could be given for dates on the remaining packages.

Seeing a drop dead date for each package would inspire
people to find and create free drop-in alternatives without so
severely disrupting use.

Even expiring only 10% of the total number of non-free packages each
month means a full removal within a normal Debian release cycle with
plenty of time left for testing.

I would also hope that the maintainers for the non-free packages would
still handle security updates for the stable branch, and would take it
upon themselves to turn their packages into meta packages that suggest
free replacements as they are created or found. These meta packages
could then be included in the next Debian release in order to provide
a smoother upgrade.

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