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Re: Proposal: Keep non-free

On 2004-02-24 13:48:22 +0000 Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> wrote:
MJ Ray wrote:
It does not really seem healthy for the Debian operating system development to use its facilities to help develop software that cannot be part of the Debian operating system.
Oh ? Please tell me how it is a health problem for Debian ? What are the
symptoms of the disease, and how is it related to the non-free area ?

Maybe "health" is not the best word, as it's anthropomorphising Debian. It hates that.

Running right through the project is the aim that "Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer" yet we use directly project-related resources to give better support to some pieces of non-free software than we do to non-Debian-packaged free software. I believe this situation is unjust, inconsistent, or, if you prefer, an unhealthy attitude. The project works against itself and those its website says it strongly supports.

Third, it allows us to establish productive relationships with >upstream authors of non-free software, which gives the free software community
an effective channel for communicating their needs and desires.
This seems almost entirely independent of non-free being in the
Thus speaks the one who doesn't care about non-free, without even caring
to hear the experience of the non-free packagers who repeteadedly
claimed the contrary here.

That's unfair, unjustified and largely incorrect. As you should remember from our past discussions, I care about non-free and would like to see more things in it be freed or replaced. I hear your anecdotes, but no-one has anything better than vague sentiments on this. Can anyone show the magic non-free archive effect exists and is stronger than for a third-party non-free package? The light in the darkness you describe may be an oncoming train rather than the sun you claim, for all I know. In god we trust: all others should bring data.

[...] documentation and other kind of data (is the bible text in
main really modifiable ?

Surely the bible text is in the public domain by now?

and what about the whole lot of GFDL documentation)

No-one claims it is free software, so I don't think there's much question there.

and naturally binary only driver, where one could argue
that the ultimate source is not the source in itself but the full
hardware specs, which are often available only with an NDA, and even
then, often incomplete.

Yes, these sort of NDAs are always a problem. The problems are at least as bad as the symptoms. Why accomodate the symptoms?

I suspect people often install non-free through ignorance and habit.
They install them, because there is no free alternative.

Recent work analysing non-free makes me think this could be a minority case. I should cross-reference the non-free alternatives list with the popcon output.

If you support removal when there is a free alternative, it sounds like a weaker form of the Suffield drop GR would get your support. How to word it, though? I can't think of a way that avoids the "when alternatives exist" condition problem I mentioned in other emails, though.

By contrast there is not, to the best of my knowledge, any evidence >at all to support the claims that supporting non-free costs as anything >notable.

Then, the sides are equal, at best. However, your rationale is not presenting the case against the motion, so I would not expect it to include that evidence, but the absence of evidence for your proposal is unusual.

blah blah blah.

Yes, I think that's an equivalently meaningful restatement of the original point! I do not expect the proposer of a GR to put the case against their proposal. Claiming there is no case against it seems pretty null.

The costs in manpower are also fairly
small: all the ongoing support is a freebie from supporting software >in
If nothing else, do ftpmasters have to check uploads, as with other packages?
Naturally they do. But i guess this would be not more work than checking
the uploads of someone trying to sneak in one of those packages into

So, there is still some extra work for each package in non-free and not just "freebie". The OP exaggerated.

Because the whole lot of installed debian machines doesn't represent a
potential market even enough to pay these hardware manufacturers
employee time needed to follow the release of the specs and such things.
Or so they say at least. Please step back in reality.

Careful. Spec releasing and relicensing may be the simplest routes, but they are not the only ones.

This Great Unanswered Question is the core of that debate: would the maintainers of an alternative non-free framework be already active Debian developers or not?
Yes, naturally, or else, they would be persons who would otherwise have
become one.

I disagree, as you already know, but I think it is the core question.

There could be another benefit to removing non-free: developers would need to accept that the Debian project is not the only source for Debian packages and actually resolve some of the third-party package support matters, like Origin and Bugs, and enabling something like apt-checksigs as default.
Third party packages are evil, this is what the whole rpm situation has
showed us.

Now who has stepped out of reality? Third party packages will always exist and we should manage them better. The "rpm situation" may describe what happens when you don't manage them as well as possible. So far the "debian situation" is that third-party packages are discouraged by some (many?) developers. That won't work forever.

What approaches "the discussion is over" is not really a healthy position statement. Reading the docs, I'm also not sure that such a position statement is non-null.
You don't like it, because you fear you will loose it, and would prefer
and endless discussion than a resolution in your disfavor.

No, I don't like it, but because it doesn't seem to matter whether I "win" or not. It looks like a complete waste of time and I think it may be an attempt to irritate developers with unnecessary voting about non-free.

Anyway, sure, someone can propose a let's remove non-free resolution
later on again, but at least we can be out of it for now, and
concentrate on real work, instead of endlessly hearing the same

Does the proposal do that any better than the Suffield drop GR not passing?

MJR/slef     My Opinion Only and possibly not of any group I know.
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