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

On Mon, Mar 08, 2004 at 04:28:13PM +0100, Markus wrote:
> 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

Yeah, but prior to me building the package, it was a total mess to
build those drivers. And building the standalone module doesn't
integrate well with kernel-package, and using non .debized stuff on a
debian system is evil, and cause al way of problems.

> for the nvidia drivers, i can also download it from nvidia.com and
> install it like people does when they use other Distributions.

We should all boycott nvidia, as they are the epythom of evilness in
what consists of non-freeness of drivers.

> 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

It would be a regression over the current state of things.

> 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? 

Ah, let's move to running Gentoo, should we ? 

> 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

ADSL modems are a wee bit more expensive though. And what about all the
other users.

> 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.

So, what new graphic card will you buy ? There is no choice about this
currently, and things are only getting worse.

> > 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

Yeah, but i am not in need of it, the current setup is just fine.

> to create something. Why should people create for you (or other non-free
> maintainer) something what they self don't need?

Because they are wanting to take away from me something i use and which
is working just fine, with very little overhead involved.

> 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.

Well, the current non-free on the debian servers serves just fine. What
is the problem with people don't wanting it to just remove the non-free
from their apt sources, and let the rest of us continue using it ?

> > 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
> graphic-cart.

Ok, so no 3D graphics for you, and you actually gave money to the
greatest enemy of free hardware drivers that there is. You are aware
that nvidia doesn't give out specs to anybody, that they insist on doing
all the driver work themselves in house, and expect people to pay them
to do so. That they are not considering any plateform selling less than
150 000 boards monthly to be worth the effort and support, which means
you will never see nvidia drivers on powerpc, despite apple using them.

> 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).

A, yes ? And are you aware that no graphic card newer than the radeon
9200 will have free drivers ? 

> 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

So, and it was usefull to you ? Do you not think that other people may
need stuff from non-free today ? 

> 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.

Yeah, whatever. non debianized stuff on debian systems are more
sacrilege than non-free packages distributed from debian archives.

> > 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

Yeah, but i believe that the discussion with the author carries more
strength if said package is in the non-free area of our infrastructure.
Also, you completely forget about the BTS, and the quality assurance
this brings with it, which are also an argument in this discussion.

> 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.

No, but it makes it easier.

> 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
> successful.

Yeah, but the creation of non-free.org would be counter productive to

> > 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. 

Yeah, on the other hand there is the right of less vendors being
interested in writing linux drivers.


Sven Luther

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