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Re: non-free and users?

> Raul Miller wrote:
> >>Is it very clever(ethical) to increase users dependency on non-free even
> >>more?
> > 
> > You're asking several different things here and maybe saying something
> > I disagree with at the same time.
> > 
> > Are we increasing users dependency on non-free?  How?

On Thu, Jan 15, 2004 at 12:37:38AM +0100, Sergey V. Spiridonov wrote:
> By distributing non-free Debian increases users dependency.

How?  And, based on that mechanism, to what degree?

> As I said users are less educated (because they are users) in
> complicated questions. They tend to ingnore complicated issues of
> the software licensing. On the other side there are users who value
> Debian very much because it is the most free OS in the world.

In other words, you don't trust users to be able to think for themselves
about what's good for them and what's bad for them?

I can understand that they might not understand the software, but to
claim that you understand *them* better than they can seems to be a false
statement.  I'll grant that with some individuals you might understand
them better than they understand themselves, but I don't see that that
principle has any universal applicability.

Also, if you are that capable of understanding them, it shouldn't be
very hard to communicate that understanding to them -- at least, not
the elements important to them.

> > And what about the reverse?
> > 
> > If someone has to use some other operating system because they can't
> > use ours without some non-free package, what does that mean?
> This mean that efforts should be concentrated on creating free 
> replacements.  Those who really need non-free will probably not choose 
> Debian anyway.  Other distributions (like Suse, Red Hat) provide a lot of 
> non-free already intergrated in their distributions.

You seem to be saying we should decrease the set of users who use debian,
because it's already small? And also you seem to be saying that we should
concentrate our efforts in that area?

Here's the answer I was thinking of: decreasing support for users which
forces them to less free alternatives is a mechanism for increasing
their dependence on non-free software.

> > If we make it easy to move from free-to-redistribute but
> > doesn't-satisfy-all-guidelines packages to totally free packages, what
> > does that mean?
> This mean that no one will need non-free software.

And, just in case it's not obvious: in my opinion, offering some non-free
software at time A, then offering [a hopefully better quality] free
replacement for that software at time B makes that transition easy.

> > For example, if we spend a few email messages on non-free, is that bette
> > or worse than spending some extra machines and the effort to build a
> > parrallel distribution?
> Probably it is an answer. I don not feel myself able to convince you. 
> But you are reasonable and convince me.  Debian depends on non-free more
> than one can think. It is nearly impossible to drop non-free. Without
> non-free Debian will not have a lot of value. This is the end. ;)

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic here, or if you mean what you say.
If you mean what you say, I think you've overstated the issue.

I think non-free matters to a relatively small group of our users --
it has a very significant benefit for the amount of work we put into it,
but it's an insignificant benefit when compared to the rest of the system.

I think getting rid of it is a bad decision.  But there's no way that
it's more valuable than one can think.


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