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Re: GR: Removal of non-free (with explanation)

On Mon, Jan 12, 2004 at 12:12:18AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 10, 2004 at 10:01:47PM +0000, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> >  The next release of Debian will not be accompanied by a non-free
> >  section; there will be no more stable releases of the non-free
> >  section. The Debian project will cease active support of the
> >  non-free section. Clause 5 of the social contract is repealed.
> I remain concerned that this appears to make contrib violate the social
> contract, but doesn't explicitly authorise its removal. If the social
> contract is to be changed, it's best to make it clear what's going on,
> so we don't have to make confusing semantic distinctions like we do at
> the moment.

I don't see why the same excuse that has always justified contrib will
not continue to work ("not part of Debian").

> > The only thing vaguely resembling
> > a time constraint is that non-free is cut out of the next stable
> > release - but there should be nothing difficult about that. Testing
> > and unstable can be cleared out whenever we're ready.
> The only concern I'd have would be that contrib might end up being
> mishandled.  If significant bits become uninstallable due to the lack
> of non-free, they'll be dropped, eg.

Significant bits of contrib ("anything that needs Sun java") are
already uninstallable due to their dependencies not being present in
non-free, and they haven't been dropped. So I don't find this very

> > The fate of contrib is left undecided because there doesn't seem to be
> > any real objection to its presence, so there's no reason to force it
> > out with a GR. 
> If that's the case, then the decision should be made to keep it.

I don't see any reason to write it into the social contract that it
should remain, any more than there is a reason to say "KDE will be
kept" or "xemacs will be kept". Debian servers routinely distribute
all kinds of things that aren't part of Debian (people, cvs, alioth,
etc), and they stay for as long as anybody cares to look after them. I
think that contrib should be handled in the same way.

> > I anticipate that if this resolution passes, people will formulate
> > timetables and transition plans as appropriate;
> If it passes, non-free will be dropped, and the social contract will
> be amended. It might not happen within ten seconds, or even a week,
> but I wouldn't expect it to be delayed in time for transition plans to
> be developed, or new archives to be setup.

Sure, that could happen, but it's also possible that packages could be
removed from main abruptly and without any of these things. The GR
does not require this to happen, so you can blame the people
responsible if it happens and you don't like it, just like for
anything else.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
   `-             -><-          |

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