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Re: Proposal: Keep non-free

On Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 11:33:57AM +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> On 2004-02-24 17:11:09 +0000 Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> 
> wrote:
> >You are stuborn, are you not ? Please read the mail archive of this
> >list, i have often stated my experience with the ocaml package there.
> >But then, if you cannot be bothered to read it, i think your opinion 
> >on
> >this is not worth reading too.
> I have read your anecdotes and I am aware of your stated opinions. I'd 
> just like to see something more conclusive about the magic non-free 

Sure, whatever, i tell you may experience, and you choose to ignore it.

> archive effect. As you know, there have been cases where debian-legal 
> contributors have convinced licensors to fix things without using 
> non-free.

Ok, let's tell it that way, if ocaml was not in non-free, there would
not have been half the ocaml team using debian as devel plateform, let
alone the userbase it had back then, so upstream wouldn't have seen so
much insentive to work on the freeing it issue. On the other hand, i
agree that this was not the only factor in the freing process, but it
assuredly was one. Furthermore, if ocaml was not in non-free, maybe i
would never have become a debian developer in the first place, as ocaml
was the reason for me going to debian. Well, that and i was running m68k
at that time, altough m68k was not yet an official supported arch back

> >[...] I can assure you that if we drop non-free, the freeness of the
> >main stuff will disminish.
> Is this a statement of intent to attempt to sneak non-free things into 
> main? The threshold will not move in the forseeable.

A prevision. I know i would have fought against the debian-legal team
much more on certain issues if there would not have been non-free, and
also i am not sure i would have been so fast to notice legal problems in
my packages, or act on them.

> >How would being able to run nvidia graphic card in 3D mode be in any 
> >way
> >comparable to ordering beer ?
> Both cost too much for the project. However, the Debian operating 
> system already does not support the nvidia binary drivers and none of 
> the current proposals would change that. The project currently does, 
> in a limited way, which is being discussed.

There are driver packages in non-free though, didn't you know ? They
represent two out of the 7 binary only stuff we have there, if i
remember correctly, and probably also the most used non-free package.

> >And despite all your words, you have no solution to this, no chance to
> >get a free alternative out, so where does this let you ?
> Same place as I was before. Just now, I don't need a solution to this 
> problem I don't have and I am busy working on solving problems I do 
> have. It sounds that you need this problem solved. Why are you arguing 
> "the solution is too hard to do" instead of JFDI?

Well, the thing is, you are advocating something which would be a
problem for me, since i actually am a maintainer or user of non-free,
and let the whole weight of creating this alternative structure rest on
my shulders, while you  don't care about it, and on top of that, you
have the hypocricy of wanting to get rid of non-free now, while you
probably used non-free software in the past, just because _your_ need is
now fullfilled by free alternatives.

> >And then, please go and look at our user mailing list, and the number 
> >of
> >questions asked by user using third party graphic driver, either for
> >nvidia and ati hardware, and you will see what it cost us to drop
> >non-free.
> Long term, it will cost you more if you don't. These drivers will put 

No, because our actions will have _zero_ influence on nvidia and other
graphic card players. I can guarantee you that. Maybe a joint
proclamation by all the linux players to not support those drivers
would, but even then, i really doubt it.

> you back into dependency on the software barons, begging them for 
> updates and work. Kick the habit now. I wish I could tell you how, but 
> you know far more than I do about this.

Please, we are speaking here, not of software, but of hardware. Don't

> >>I think it makes it even more important that we are clear and 
> >>unambiguous 
> >>in the message: "non-free is not part of the Debian operating 
> >>system".
> >But forgetting what we told in section 5, about supporting our users
> >which need non-free.
> Actually, you remind me that this is something which I think we should 
> address, but is it now too late?

Huh ? Is the remove non-free proposal not simply to get rid of section
5, and let the non-free needing users in the dust ? 

> >>Again, you make unjustified allegations about people who disagree 
> >>with you. 
> >>Please stop.
> >Which unjustified allegations ?
> "shot first, ask later as the non-free removal people suggest".  I 
> don't think you have justified comparing supporters of Suffield's drop 
> GR to trigger-happy gun nuts. Demonising those with opposing views is 
> not helpful.

It is not demonising, just stating the way they behave and argument, but
then perhaps my limited grasp of the english language made me say
something which is more rude than i though ?

> >>You and I have no way to remove them.
> >Sure, we have. We can fill a bug report against them asking for their
> >removal, where you make the case that it should be removed because
> >so-and-so is a viable alternative. You have to convince the maintainer
> >though, and thus handle a reasonable technical discussion with him,
> >which i believe most of the remove non-free proponent are not yet able
> >or willing to do.
> Equally, we can propose a GR which asks for their removal en masse, 

Their indiscriminated removal, even if some packages in non-free are
of a different degree of freedom, and more importantly of a different
degree of free replacement, or of communication channel with upstream
for freeing of the software. And then you don't accept the shot first,
ask later analogy ?

> where we make the case that the effect is positive, on balance. Why is 

And if the effect is not possitive ? Too bad, you will say, right ? 

> one indirect possible action OK, yet you say the other is not? 
> Attempts at either action does not prevent the other, really.

It is the 'en masse' part, the indiscriminating way this proposal

> >>Surely each upload is checked a bit?
> >Nope, only new uploads, the rest is automated, or the whole system 
> >would
> >fold.
> Then it is only "a freebie" if we allow no new uploads to non-free?  
> Towns's amendment does not mention such an action.

And why should it ? Most assuredly it is not more work than for a
non-free package mistakenly uploaded to main ?

Also, what about contrib ? 

> >>This third-party discouragement limits debian unnecessarily, in 
> >>development, adoption and collaboration. We will not scale 
> >>infinitely and 
> >>we must address that.
> >Yeah, sure, but encouraging non-free third parties is not the way to 
> >go.
> Possibly not the best, but there is some benefit if it also 
> facilitates free third parties too. I don't wish to encourage new 
> people to go non-free route, but I see little harm in encouraging 
> current non-free to become third parties.

Tell, me, what encouragement do third party have to make their software
free, if they can also do it in a non-free way ?

> I like your "debian-approved label" idea. I think it ties in with the 
> trademark and Skolelinux discussions on -project and should be 
> discussed further there.

Saddly i have no time to follow this mailing list. Feel free to cite my
idea there, and cc me if you like.

> >>>I think not. It is just a keep the status quo thingy. But it would 
> >>>at
> >>>least guarantee a certain time delay before we have to discuss about
> >>>this again.
> >>How does it do that? I looked, but didn't spot anything.
> >Because i hope you would be ashamed of yourself if you were going to
> >propose this same thing again a week or so after the vote is held, 
> >and i
> >hope also you would then fail to raise enough seconds.
> I wouldn't, but there's no guarantee of that from passing Towns's 
> amendment. I don't think it would be any different if Suffield's drop 
> GR doesn't pass. Towns's amendment has just delayed the vote and seems 
> to oblige another vote to resolve the absurdity if Suffield+Towns is 
> passed. If you wish this issue to be settled for a while soon, I think 
> you were foolish to second the amendment.

Seriously, i trust our debian secretary to come out with a ballot that
doesn't have this side effect. You only need to state that only one of
the option will win. 


Sven Luther

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