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Re: GR: Removal of non-free

On Sat, Jan 10, 2004 at 03:17:42AM -0600, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Thu, 8 Jan 2004 14:30:55 -0500, Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> said: 
> > On Sat, Jan 03, 2004 at 11:57:47PM -0600, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> >> Ah.  If all this GR is a trial baloon to see the level of support
> >> the non-free packages have, ok. If you want to actually remove
> >> non-free from debian machines, and you wish the GR to actually
> >> pass, then well, it would well behoove you to woo people on the
> >> fence.
> >>
> >> Yes, there is no need for you to heed my advice.
> > I think it would be useful to poll the developers on the subject.  I
> 	This GR is not a poll.

I didn't say it was.

>  However, a poll can easily be set up for the purpose -- and, if you
>  think it is useful, I am sure you can conduct this (you have
>  demonstrated this skillset already)

At present, I do not think I have the time.

Does the Project Secretary object to the usage of the Debian voting
machinery to carry out non-binding surveys, in addition to General
Resolutions voted on through the Standard Resolution Procedure?  Can you
ask him for me, or should I mail secretary@debian.org?

> 	I think you have lost your grasp of practicality,

Interesting.  At what time do you assert that I still had it?  Or do I
gain and lose it as the moon waxes and wanes -- or more accurately, as I
come into and out of agreement with your position on various issues of

>  and you want us to vote for your proposals?

As I understand it, I don't have a proposed GR on the table.  I let my
last one die because I ran out of time to advocate it and also keep up
with my other responsibilities.

>  You jump from a transition plan top "a
>  PDF hundreds of pages in length and putting forth a more
>  comprehensive transition plan than any this Project has ever seen
>  before"?

That's known as hyperbole, and was intended to be easily recongized as
such.  I do assume that people reading it are familiar with the many
demands that have been made of the advocates of removing non-free, from
infrastructural transitions involving the Debian Bug Tracking System to
a comprehensive catalog of every non-free package and an enumeration of
licensing issues, available alternatives in main, and so forth.

>  And now you have reduced this from an effort to find a solution to
>  electioneering and polemics.

You provide no foundation for this assertion that I can see.

>  *sigh*. And I had hopes for this discussion.

I see -- so I am solely responsible for any failure of this discussion
to reach consensus?  Upon what rational grounds could you possibly have
expected me to shoulder such a burden?   A burden which, incidentally,
you did not communicate to me in advance.  Why, for instance, should we
not hold Sven Luther, Anthony Towns, Craig Sanders, or yourself as
solely responsible for realizing your "hopes for this discussion"?

For that matter, what *were* those hopes, exactly?

I am finding precious little of substance in the aspersions you cast.

> > It challenges my credulity that dropping non-free would be anywhere
> > close to as painful from a technical and infrastructural perspective
> > as the transition from libc5 to libc6.
> 	Apples and oranges.

Please identify your criteria for an apples-to-apples comparison.  Does
a real-world example even exist?  If not, how can any opponent of the GR
reasonably demand a projection of the effort this endeavor will require?
If no one can really know how easy or hard it will be, the discussion is
best confined to other grounds, and if the GR passes we'll just have to
find out how hard it is, leaving our blazed trail for the benefit of
future decision-makers making similar judgements.

>  Though creating the infrastructure, and paying for it, is unlikely to
>  be trivial

Yes; it is generally true that projects require management.

>  And duplicating the administration shall cost hours that may well be
>  spent on Debian.

This also seems a truism; the time Debian developers spend that is
not-for-Debian is time that could have instead been spent on Debian.

Have you a specific prophecy to offer about Debian developers will
realign their priorities to cope with the changed situtation if a GR
dropping non-free should pass?  How about a quanitifable prediction to
offer regarding people who are *not* currently Debian developers, who
may join our project subsequent to our dropping of non-free, or people
who join the nascent non-free Debian package project and thus
potentially relieve the burden formerly shouldered by Debian developers
of packages in non-free?

Are truisms and vague speculations good grounds for deciding one's
position on the GR, one way or the other?  Should we not make up our
minds based on factors we can actually determine?  Isn't that the
rational thing to do?

> > It is intriguing to me that some folks whom I have seen vigorously
> > espousing ad-hoc problem solving suddenly become advocates of a
> > highly bureaucratized approach when it comes to dropping non-free.
> > From my perspective, bureaucracy (i.e., documented procedures,
> > clearly delineated powers) is justified by abuse of power (actual or
> > potential).
> 	Ah. Attack hypothetical opponents -- I am beginning to see
>  this as a hallmark of your tactics.

I don't have hypothetical opponents in mind.  On what grounds do you
assert that I do?

> > I don't understand how a GR, itself a democratic process, to remove
> > non-free could be an abuse of power.  And I *definitely* don't see
> > how a non-binding survey could be such.  Perhaps someone could
> > explain it to me?
> 	And ascribe idiotic arguments to your opponents,

I have seen it posited that dropping non-free is inherently a disservice
to our users, whom we purport to serve.  It is the people in the Debian
Project who are empowered to make this decision, and authority exercised
to the deliberate deteriment of those who should be served or protected
by, it is an abuse of that authority.  Therefore, acting in a way that
harms those whom we claim to be serving through exercise of authority
can perfectly reasonably be construed as abuse of power.

You are certainly entitled to feel that such as assertion is idiotic, if
you wish.

>  and then proceed to ridicule the opposition based on words you have
>  put in their mouth.

If you sincerely need me to footnote the premises in my second previous
paragraph, I will take the time to do so.  All you need do is ask.

> 	Masterful.

Merely asserting that my position is garbage does not render it thus.
Kindly methodically refute it, challenging the specific points I
actually make, so that even the people in the cheap seats can appreciate
your rhetorical prowess, and come to share your low opinion of my
contributions to this discussion.

G. Branden Robinson                |
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       "Bother," said Pooh, as he was
branden@debian.org                 |       assimilated by the Borg.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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