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Re: Why Anthony Towns is wrong

On Sun, Mar 07, 2004 at 10:20:49PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Anthony Towns has been arguing that the non-free archive really *is*
> part of Debian, that while it isn't part of the "Debian Distribution",
> it is obviously a part of the system as a whole.
> This disregards the current text of the Social Contract section 5,
> which is very clear that the non-free archives are "not part of the
> Debian system" and that "non-free software isn't a part of Debian".
> Anthony and Sven and others have recently found it very hard to
> preserve this illusion, because they themselves speak of "removing
> non-free from Debian", which strongly suggests that they have
> essentially decided to ignore what the Social Contract section 5 says
> about this.

Thomas. You seem to have forgotten what i replied to this.

non-free is part of the debian infrastructure, since we promised in
section 5 that we would distribute it from the debian ftp servers.
non-free is not part of the debian distribution though, otherwise called

Both the debian distribution and the debian infrastructure are part of
the debian project though, as are a splattering of other ressources we
didn't mention. I also believe that the time that is going to be lost by
debian developers to set up this alternative non-free.org you are
proposing is also part of the debian project.

Thomas, would you be satisfied if the non-free archive was continued to
be kept on the debian servers and infrastructure, but only accessible
by a non-free.org DNS magic ? This would cause the less burden to our
ressources (ressources as in volunteer time donation, what other
ressource do we have), while achieving the cosmetic goal which seems so
important to you of not having non-free programs visibly related to the
debian project. If not, could you please come up with a sane rationale
on why not ? 

Also, i would like to know what you find more important. That we move
non-free to another server network not related to debian, even if the
same debian maintainers work on it, or working to make the individual
non-free package not needed anymore, either by freeing them, or by
strengthening free alternatives ?

And finally, i would like to know if you (or other non-free removal
proponents) may be part of a corporation or other organisation, which
may have a vested interest in maintaining an alternative non-free.org
archive, and how you expect to guarantee that the creation of such an
external entity may not divert ressources from the debian distribution
(also called debian/main) to this external fork we have no control over.

> It is my conviction that Social Contract paragraph 5 represents a
> compromise position.  And that compromise has essentially all but
> broken down.  At least the proposers of the resolution have the
> honesty to say it has; the opponents seem to want to say it's just
> fine, while they ignore the part of the compromise they don't like.

Has it ? Please tell me, which hardware plateform are you running, and
do you have access to a free licenced copy of your bios code, and of the
individual hardware components of your computer ? 

> I think we need to get rid of paragraph 5 entirely.  It's purpose has
> long since been served; and those who would like it to remain are
> themselves not happy with the compromise.

And tell me, when exactly did you stop using netscape and were able to
use a free replacement ? netscape or word or acrobat reader ? 

And do you believe the same courtesy the debian project as a whole gave
you in providing you easy access to these pieces of software might not
be extended to those who right now still benefit from packages in
non-free you have no use for ? 


Sven Luther

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