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Re: one of the many reasons why removing non-free is a dumb idea

On Tue, 06 Jan 2004, Craig Sanders wrote:
> One thing that all of the advocates for dumping non-free have in
> common is a complete disregard for the actual contents of non-free.

Many of us are actually aware of what is in non-free, as we took part
in discussions leading to its placement there.

> Aside from the convenience for our users, this has also been useful
> in motivating some software authors to get their programs out of the
> non-free ghetto by changing the license to one that is truly free.

I'd expect the prospect of an author's software no longer being
distributed by Debian would be an even greater impetus. Regardless,
software doesn't magically become free. People who care about it
generally have to work with the upstream author to explain why the
software should be freed, and help them to do it.

> the fact that modified versions can not be redistributed really
> makes NO PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE to anyone at all. 

In numerous cases, it makes a difference to me. I assume there are
other trivial examples where the inability to modify a dataset and
distribute the resultant work is imparing. For example, consider the
doom WAD files.

Or consider the case when upstream has gone away, and the data needs
to be corrected. Un-modifiable works are a dead end.

>  - get a life and stop worrying about what other people run on their
>  own computers.

The issue here is not what other people run on their own
computers. The issue is what Debian will and will not distribute.

Don Armstrong

The attackers hadn't simply robbed the bank. They had carried off
everything portable, including the security cameras, the carpets, the
chairs, and the light and plumbing fixtures. The conspirators had
deliberately punished the bank, for reasons best known to themselves,
or to their unknown controllers. They had superglued doors and
shattered windows, severed power and communications cables, poured
stnking toxins into the wallspaces, and concreted all of the sinks and
drains. In eight minutes, sixty people had ruined the building so
thouroughly that it had to be condemed and later demolished.

-- Bruce Sterling, _Distraction_ p4


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