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Re: [Proposal] Updating the Social Contract

> On Mon, Jan 12, 2004 at 09:15:01PM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> > Hmm..  if I carry out Andrew Cater's suggetion , I would entirely get
> > rid of mention of our existing support for non-free.
> > 
> > I do want to mention non-free, because getting rid of it is Andrew's
> > proposal, not mine.
> > 
> <snip>
> > 
> > I definitely need to update my proposal (Linux Standard Base is what LSB
> > stands for), but I'm less certain that pulling out the non-free section
> > stuff is the right thing to do.
> > 
> > Andrew Cater -- could you explain a bit more about why you thought
> > getting rid of that content was a good idea?  I mean, I understand
> > what you're saying in a glib sense, but not when I sit back and
> > think about it.

On Tue, Jan 13, 2004 at 11:29:47PM +0000, Andrew M.A. Cater wrote:
> Andrew S. wants to remove clause 5 and to state that Debian will not
> release another stable release with the non-free FTP archive, as I 
> understand it.  He also has suggestions for editing the DFSG. OK.
> I'm looking for a via media here.

"via media" means middle way, right?  Middle between Andrew S and what?
More important:  why?  Maybe you've already answered...?

> I am for a 100% free software Debian, but not at all costs: alienating 
> users and the wider free software community can't help anyone - being 
> known as "Debian the licence fascists who won't include Pine/the NVidia 
> drivers" is bad enough, even if the reasons are justifiable :( 

Hmm... ok.

> We can hope that, like the State, the need for non-free will one day 
> wither away :) but we may need to work pragmatically.  
> Some people _need_ non-free packages, others only prefer them: until the 
> documentation/GFDL issue gets sorted out one way or the other, much of our 
> documentation is axiomatically non-free :( 

That matches my current thinking.

> As aj has also emphasised, neither proposal sorts out contrib. 
> in any way :(

I don't think Aj has commented on my proposal at all.  Maybe he's waiting
for me to stop making changes to it.

I think I do allow for contrib, though a fair bit of that is through

> I think it is still important to emphasise that Debian is inclusionary, 
> not exclusionary and is concerned with real users and the real world.  
> We_do_ make it possible for non-DFSG-free software to run readily on the
> basis of the Debian system, we don't normally pillory people for using
> /maintaining non-free software.  

I like that sentiment, too.

> By deleting the stuff in the middle and keeping the remainder:
> There is an emphasis that we (Debian Project) will allow people to 
> continue to use non-free software if they wish. [We won't deliberately 
> manoeuevre the Debian packaging system to exclude all non-DFSG free / 
> handicap the computer / delete their non-free packages with a sneaky 
> shell script ... :) ]

This brings to mind some really odd imagery: "if you don't take that
non-free off your machine right now, I'm going to send you to bed without
any supper".

Or... I don't think us "allowing people" to do things has ever been
the issue.

The issue is more what we enable people to do.

> There is an emphasis that Debian will be interoperable with the LSB.  
> Big for commercial purposes: potentially less important for a sole user 
> but, on the other hand, we're playing as part of a wider community.

That's something I added.  And exactly because of it's significance for
commercial (non-free) software.  I've got at least one guy claiming that
that's really not a non-free issue at all.

> There is an emphasis that we carry on working to reduce the numbers of 
> non-DFSG packages and the amount of non-DFSG-free software.

There is?  I'm not sure what you're referring to, here.

> The drug dependency metaphors and the statement that non-free software 
> isn't needed by most people don't add much and may detract from the 
> overall effect of clarity.  They also add significant length.

I think you dubbed in the bit about drugs.  There's many kinds of

Also, if I take out the text you indicated to clip I don't mention the
non-free distribution at all -- which pretty much means it has no reason
to exist.  That's what I'm looking for a justification on.

> [Unexpected testimonial: some users at work wanted Icon - to work on 
> a project started some years ago - and were absolutely amazed when
> I told them it was on my Debian system out of the box.  No commercial
> distribution would consider Icon worthwhile today, I'd imagine - but
> Debian gets the job done straightaway :) ]

Where we're good, we're often excellent.  And software freedoms are a
core reason why that's the case.  I agree.

Interestingly enough, that even applies to our support for non-free


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