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Re: non-free and users?

On Sat, Jan 17, 2004 at 04:43:13PM +0100, Sergey V. Spiridonov wrote:
> Raul Miller wrote:
> >I wish I knew why you think it's evil for Debian to distribute non-free.
> >
> >You've stated that it's an ethical issue for you.  You've drawn an analogy
> >with illegal drugs.  You've stated that it's not good for Debian's
> >developers or users [regardless of any good that the software does,
> >and regardless of any freeness in that software].
> >
> >But your arguments seem to be circular -- without basis.
> I will try to present an example. Let's say we have program 'A' without 
> permition to distribute modified sources. It's not absolutely non-free - 
> you have freedom to learn how program works, to modify it for your own 
> needs, to distribute it without modifications. It is unique and there is 
> no free analog.

Notice that this represent only a small fraction of the stuff in the
non-free area.

> If developer agrees with such a limitation he is not able to modify this 
> program to help his friend to adapt it for his needs. Developer will not 
> be able to distribute modifications to others who also need such an 
> improvenment. This contradicts human ethics, because help is ethical.

Yeah sure, whatever. Please tell me how this developer would be better
able to help this friend, if the orinal work is not available at all. In
either case, he can start from scratch, and reimplement the program in a
free fashion, and thus help his friend.

Also, notice that this same argument can be hold against your argument.
If we can help someone by providing non-free packages, and that their
licence allow them to use it, is it not counter-ethical for us to not
distribute such non-free package ?

> Any single person can decide to ignore this non-ethical limitation on 
> helping other people (and will act ethical, because helping other people 
> is more ethical than violating the will of author in this case). Debian 
> is not able to act this way because of the legal issues (and legality is 
> important, otherwise Debian will not survive). So, by agreeing to such a 
> licence, Debian compel himself to non-ethical actions.

Yeah, sure, but as said, by removing non-free, Debian also does act
non-ethically, and even more so, since having a non-free package in
debian doesn't stop you from helping your friend.


Sven Luther

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