Re: We *can* be Free-only
On Sun, Jan 11, 2004 at 11:50:43PM -0500, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> John Goerzen wrote:
> > What's more, if there really are as many people that find
> >non-free vital, they will no doubt posess the skill, will, and resources
> >to ensure that a quality non-free repository will exist for a long time.
> >I very much suspect they will do a better job maintaining it than we
> >have to date. As a result, our users' pain will be only the slight one
> >of an edit to sources.list and a dselect update.
> That's a good argument. However, to play devil's advocate, what if the
> result is that Debian Developers start trying harder to sneak non-free
> stuff into "main"? At this point, given the amount of non-free stuff
> which *already* lives in main, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised.
That's an interesting angle that I haven't seen mentioned before.
I think I can see two sides to that coin.
On the one hand, I don't think that there will be any impact on the
discussions in debian-legal. People there are already fairly well
accustomed to analyzing licenses on their merits.
Yes, I think it could mean more resistance on the part of developers.
But, I haven't really seen much resistance to date, and I don't think it
will be a great problem.
As far as sneaking non-free into main... again, I don't think this has
been a huge problem. I think that most non-free works in main are those
which were historically considered free (perhaps because we didn't
understand their non-freeness in the past, or perhaps because of
changing circumstances upstream, or other matters) but which now are
The problem of non-free snuck into main is one which will eventually be
exposed; it is, in fact, impossible to hide this from other developers
with prying eyes.
> Currently Debian has maintainers who refuse to remove non-free works
> from *main*. Do you think they're going to become more reasonable about
> this if non-free is removed? I think they're going to become *less*
Again, I haven't seen this as a huge problem; for instance, with the GIF
transition a few years back, cooperation usually was good. IIRC, the
largest problems were with lethargic maintainers that weren't
maintaining their packages anyway.
> Incidentally, have you started work on removing the non-free GNU
> documentation from your system and replacing it? This work is going to
> take a while.
Indeed, and unfortunately I lack both the time and expertise for doing
Thanks for your thought-provoking post.