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Re: Proposal: Keep non-free

On Wed, Feb 25, 2004 at 09:58:55PM +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> 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.

Clearly, there's an element of time here.

"they can't currently produce free drivers" doesn't conflict with "they
will produce free drivers" if you realize that "can't" refers to the
present, and "will" refers to the future.

Your "Clearly, they can produce devices with free software drivers if
they want to" adds nothing new to this -- yes, they can, though it might
take years and a significant growth in the relevant user base.

> 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?

Why deny them that wilted carrot?

Integration into main is a much jucier carrot -- though, unfortunately,
both carrots are so small right now that they'd be nothing more than
an appetizer.

> 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.

Note that the kernel people only do this for kernel modules -- they
explicitly take a much milder stance than debian on user mode drivers.

That said, this does have some relevance in the context of nvidia,
since those are kernel modules.

> 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.

If true, this is an argument that we should keep non-free more than it's
an argument that we should drop non-free.

> 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".

Strawman argument.


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