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Re: drop or keep non-free - from users viewpoint

On Mon, 08 Mar 2004 14:30:41 +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 07, 2004 at 04:05:41PM +0100, Markus wrote:
>> One last point: I have read that DD which also packages non-free programs
>> think that if Debian drops non-free they would need more time for there
>> non-free package and for the (maybe) new infrastructure. This is maybe
>> true or not. But i think if you define the goal of Debian to create an
>> 100% free operating system thats not a problem for Debian.

> If i am stopped from maintaining the driver for the ADSL modem that
> provides me access to the internet, and thus enables me to do my debian
> work, will you step in and pay me (and others who use the same modem) a
> new adsl modem that is supported by non-free software.

Let me answere in two steps:
1. If you maintain the non-free ADSL driver, that means that there are some
drivers and you create a Debian package for it. If there is no Debian
package you, and all other people who use that modem, could still use the
drivers and the modem. For example i don't really need a Debian package
for the nvidia drivers, i can also download it from nvidia.com and
install it like people does when they use other Distributions.
That's a point who i have never understand in this discussion. Every one
can install whatever he want on his system, even if Debian drops non-free
the driver and all other programs will still be out there and you are free
to install it on your system. The only question in my view is, if Debian
will support this Software by using there resources, create Debian
packages which are hosted on the Debian Server and promote this software
with the Debian label? Or is the support enough if Debian gives everyone
the informations to built, create and insert every software they want
to there Debian System? 

2. Before i would pay you many years to package the non-free driver i would
give you one time 30EUR that you can buy a modem which were supported by free
drivers. If i buy new hardware I'm looking that this hardware is supported
by free software, if you don't look at these you can't make other people
responsible for it.

> And do you volunteer to step up, and do the administration of the new
> non-free.org infrastructure, which many talk about as it already
> existed, but nobody has come forward and implemented without taking
> ressources away from the debian project.

As i understand Free Software, things were created if someone are in need of
it. So if you or other people need a place like non-free.org it's your job
to create something. Why should people create for you (or other non-free
maintainer) something what they self don't need?
If some non-free maintainer or some dedicated Debian user decide that they want
something like non-free.org than they will create it. If they think that's not
necessary because they don't need non-free software or they can become
there non-free programs or drivers also from somewhere else (e.g. direct
from the hardware vendor) than they will not create some place. If a
non-free.org takes the DD's some resources away than thats pity, but
Debian can not tell people how many time they should spend for Debian and
can't forbid them to invest some time in other activities outside from
Debian. And if some DD's want to spend some time on non-free.org or
something else and cut there time for Debian than thats their decision.
> Also, i would be interested to know from you what your hardware
> configuration is, and tell me about the non-free software you actually
> use, or used.

I have normal hardware, ADSL modem which connects over Ethernet with the
computer (= no special drivers needed), HP printer, AMD processor, nvidia

For the graphic-card i use the XFree drivers because i have no need for 3D
support. If i would need 3D support i would by a new graphic-cart which
works with free drivers (e.g. ati radeon).
At the moment i have only software from Debian main installed, about 1
years before i had spim installed from non-free because i needed it for my
study. But if there were no non-free or no Debian package for it i would
have no problem, i would have downloaded it simply from their homepage.
That's also what i said about this topic. Non-free software exists
independent from Debians non-free. No one needs Debian to use this
software, whether non-free exists or not everyone can use and install
everything he wants on his Debian System.
> And also, i think you, as the other drop non-free proponent, forget
> completely about the work that accompanies a serious non-free packager,
> and which includes advocating and lobbying upstream to change to a free
> licence, which in my case has proven to be successfull in 50% of the
> non-free packages i have maintained.

I have great respect from people who does this hard advocating and lobbying
work. But does this work really needs non-free? Even if you don't create a
non-free packages for an special non-free program, if you are interested
in it you can ever talk with the developer to make the software free so
that you can create packages for the Debian OS. I think it's not necessary
for the lobbying to have non-free or create non-free packages.
Maybe it's is even better if there is no non-free. Maybe some developers
or vendors only wants that there are good Debian packages, or they see it
like many users that non-free practically is a part of Debian, and
therefor they are complete satisfied with this situation and would be more
concerned if there where no packages for Debian from Debian?
And in such a case your advocating and lobbying would be even more

> Finally, i would like to know what do you think about the policy
> currently followed by Linus Torvalds and the remainder of kernel worked
> concerning the binary driver modules, which maybe you or someone near
> you use.

I think it would make many things easier if Linus Torvalds would stand up more
for Free Software. I think without the loose dealing with non-free modules it
would be much easier to convince developer and vendors that our community
needs Free Software and not proprietary driver for free. 


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