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Re: Firmware & Social Contract: GR proposal

Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:

> 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,

Then do as Thomas suggests below and propose the honest GR.

>> 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*,

It won't be.  Providing the ability to use "add-on" install media is very
much a useful feature in the long term, particularly for (wait for it...)
"added-value" redistributors.

(Or perhaps you didn't mean add-on install media, and instead meant one
monolithic "free" disk and one monolithic "non-free" disk.  Indeed, that is
not the preferred solution.)

>> even if the work of splitting out this firmware proved manageable
It is.

>> and 
>> there were sufficient volunteers to do this work.
There are.

> 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
> infinite.
> 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?

If I ever become a DD, I was going to propose GRs to this effect, probably
one for each category.  (There are only about four or five categories.)

Even though I would vote *against* such GRs.  (Well, with the exception of
the license texts one.  I'd vote for that one.)

Because I'd prefer an up-or-down, yes-or-no, clear decision to the
wink-and-nod business.

While I'm not a DD, if anyone wants help drafting a GR to amend the Social
Contract to *clearly allow* some particular thing which I consider non-free,
I will be happy to help.  I want such an amendment to be as crystal clear
as possible, so that Debian is not deceiving anyone.

(Unfortunately, I fear that perhaps some people really *like* the hypocrisy:
such a person would want to keep non-free firmware in main but would not
want the Social Contract to say so.  I hope there are no such people but
sometimes I fear that there are.)

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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