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Re: Another Non-Free Proposal

On Mon, Jan 12, 2004 at 12:22:10AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 10, 2004 at 04:18:23PM -0500, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> > On Jan 9, 2004, at 20:26, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > >and thus [go a long way]
> > >towards [getting non-free removed from Debian]", then they should want 
> > >to setup such an archive.
> > If I were to set up a non-free archive, complete with BTS, signed 
> > uploads, mailing lists, etc., would you support the non-free GR, 
> > assuming what I set up is up to your quality standards?
> If you set it up, then found that it was approximately as easy to
> maintain non-free separately as it is in Debian, I'd be very surprised,
> and I'd definitely re-evaluate my take on the matter. If it turns out
> to be *easier* to maintain non-free debs outside Debian, or if it turns
> out they can be *better* maintained outside Debian (or both), I'd come
> close to being forced to revise my view.
For some documentation "non-free" .debs, there is possibly little need 
for long term maintenance and they could be downloaded from e.g. W3C as
an alternative documentation format.  Having them served from Debian 
servers is "nice to have" but non-essential.  If they need changing,
then the originators could change them - there would be a problem if
the Debian-compatible packages were unwittingly carrying out of date 
docs, for example 

> Some non-obvious, but non-trivial, concerns are managing new maintainers
> and managing license evaluation.
License evaluation will still carry on on debian-legal :)

> OTOH, I also think there's also a lot of value in having non-free in
> Debian as a way to encourage non-free authors to free up their works. I
> don't think the hypothesised chances of improving this by removing
> non-free from Debian are likely to pan out at all, and I've seen no
> evidence at all to support them.
I can see your point.  There should be no harm in Dale's suggestion
to set up nonfree.org initially.

> > [ I'm not currently saying I will set up nonfree.org, I don't currently 
> > have a machine to do it on, for example. Consider it a hypothetical, 
> > with a reasonable chance. And I don't think I'd want to host 
> > closed-source commercial software, like our ancient jdk's, 
> > communicator, acrobat reader, etc. ]
> It'd be very hard to convince me that a non-free archive that didn't
> host everything that's currently in non-free was as good as what we've
> currently got. Maybe if you had more recent versions of the jdk, or came
> to an arrangement to get some software that's not packaged at all atm --
> say the proprietary RealPlayer codecs? -- then that might work.

People like Lindows/Libranet/Xandros might be willing to put some of 
this into a nonfree.org repository as a way of paying back Debian?

There is no canonical reason why Debian maintainers _must_ maintain
everything in non-free / everyone who maintains a non-DFSG-free package 
_must_ be a Debian maintainer.  

Apropos the multiplicity of unofficial apt sources and the 
problems of "untrusted" repositories: [random personal idea] it 
might be a good idea to create a "Debian backports" section and fold 
some of these back into a Debian server. [There's no obvious 
reason why backports could not be hosted by Debian since they are a service 
to the Debian community in at least the same way as contrib.]


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