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Re: Proposal: Keep non-free

On 2004-02-25 21:23:48 +0000 Matt Pavlovich <mpav@algx.net> wrote:

In the case of video drivers, there is a lot of proprietary intellectual property that is built into the software driver to make the thing "go". In many instances, it is licensed from a third party, so the vendor
could not open source the driver-- even if they wanted.  Many vendors
are moving to a model where proprietary IP will be moved on chip, thus
avoiding the binary-only requirement. These transitions will take time,
and it is important for Debian to support these efforts.

First you claim that they cannot produce free software drivers (free software is what we require, more than just open source) and then you claim that they will produce free software drivers. Clearly, they can produce devices with free software drivers if they want to.

Some hardware manufacturers do help to produce free software drivers, or even publish them themselves. We give them the carrot of letting their drivers into main. Why should we give the carrot of inclusion on our ftp archive to those who are not being fair partners?

If we abandon non-free, we are essentially telling Nvidia and other

"Thank you for taking the time to integrate your software onto our
platform, but your efforts are not good enough and we refuse to
distribute it."

Thanks, but no thanks?!?!? That is just closed minded and is a slap in
the face to the vendors that are *writing* software for Linux.

We already refuse to distribute non-free on the official Debian CDs and it is not part of the distribution. Even so, Debian has a far more moderate stance than the Linux kernel project themselves. They have made the kernel print warnings about proprietary drivers tainting your system and refused to help debug them. Linux already slaps them in the face far more than Debian will after the Suffield drop GR passes.

Before Mozilla, Netscape Navigator was the non-free poster girl. There will probably always be some piece of software that someone considers useful in non-free, until no-one creates new non-free software any more. You should still support the Suffield drop GR to help Debian be a useful free software operating system forever. It does that by making it clearer what is acceptable for inclusion in Debian's distribution, and by reducing the number of answers to "how do I do N with debian" that start "install S from non-free, you bigot".

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