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Re: Firmware & Social Contract: GR proposal

Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> writes:

> Who is confident of this, and why?  I'm not confident of this at all; I'm
> not sure that the idea of forcing sourceless firmware out of main is even an
> idea that the majority of developers agree with, and Joey Hess has pointed
> out to us reasons why providing separate free/non-free install media might
> be a strategically poor use of our time in the *long term*, even if the work
> of splitting out this firmware proved manageable and there were sufficient
> volunteers to do this work.

So this gives me pause.

I've been instructed that it's ok to vote for one of these
resolutions, because it's only a way to get etch out the door, and we
can come into real compliance with the Social Contract for etch+1. 

I have expressed some skepticism, being rather convinced that the
actual facts are that there are people who are happy to have the
kernel simply *never* come into compliance with the DFSG, for whatever
reasons, and that they have been dragging their feet in bringing it
into compliance.

One of the people hinting at this has been Steve, who basically said
to me recently that for some packages, they would get booted from the
release for violating the DFSG, and for other packages, we just wink
and nod.

Now we have it flat out: Steve thinks perhaps we will simply never
bring the kernel packages into compliance with the DFSG.

So let's not hear about etch vs. etch+1; let's not hear about some
special thing for just this release.  

This is sounding like the behavior of the US Congress, which likes to
continually extend copyrights for one "limited" term after another,
thus producing the reality that copyright terms in the US are now

Just so, the claim that we are making temporary concessions so that we
can release is a cover for the real facts: some people simply do not
think the DFSG operates as an absolute bar to the inclusion of
non-free software in Debian.

So, rather than dance around redefining "software" and telling us that
this is a just-this-once special-exception just-for-etch (never mind
that it is the second "just this once" special exception), can you
please propose the DFSG or SC amendentment you really want, the one
that clearly and unmistakably says "the following items can be
included in Debian even though they are not free software", and drop
the 100% promise that the Social Contract has always known?


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