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Re: Another Non-Free Proposal

On Mon, Jan 05, 2004 at 10:58:57AM -0500, Dale E Martin wrote:
> > Which means the only resources we can "concentrate" are our servers, not
> > our developers' time, which means we get _no_ benefit from this, as far
> > as I can see.
> The only benefit anyone can argue is philosophical.  (Well, see below for
> an actual practical benefit.) We have something called the DFSG, and we (as
> an organization, not as individuals necessarily) will only support software
> that conforms to the DFSG if we drop non-free.

and even this so-called 'philosophical benefit' is delusional.  it is not based
on reality, it is not based on an accurate representation of what is actually
in non-free.  it is based on a fictional, verging on dishonest, depiction of
non-free as being a cesspit of evil proprietary software that has managed to
sneak in to the debian archive, corrupting debian by its presence.

i'll discuss this in more detail in another message, but nothing could be
further from the truth.  almost all of the stuff in non-free qualifies as
almost-free (or "semi-free" in RMS's terms).  it fails the DFSG on one or two
points, just as GNU documentation does.

> > But that's not true. The practical consequences are many: Debian ceases
> > supporting every non-free package,
> (Which you argue above is a teeny part of the current archive.)

which does not mean that the practical consequences are tiny.  for those who
need or want the software or data in non-free, the consequences will vary from
a minor annoyance to a near-catastrophic pain in the arse.

but, i guess that doesn't matter to you, because it's not you that will be
suffering the annoyance or the PITA.

> [...]

> One thing that noone has mentioned is that non-free has caused the project to
> fall out of the good graces of the FSF to some degree.  

that would happen anyway.  anything less than 100% agreement with all of RMS'
ideas would eventually and inevitably lead to the project falling out of the
good graces of RMS and the FSF.

> One benefit of dropping it would be that Debian could be "the official
> distribution" of the FSF.  Whether that's desirable to the group as a whole
> or not is another big can of worms. :-)  But there is one practical benefit
> that dropping non-free could have.

been there, done that, it sucked.

while there would be a certain amount of prestige associated with being the
FSF's official/recommended distribution, the obligation to obey RMS' every whim
would greatly outweigh any benefit.


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