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Re: [DRAFT] resolving DFSG violations

Robert Millan <rmh@aybabtu.com> writes:
> Option 1 (set an upper limit)
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[move stuff to non-free after some time]

I believe this to be a bad idea. 

Would we enforce this at the moment, Debian main would be empty, as
glibc (and consequently, all of it's r-build-deps) would need to go to
non-free. We would probably not do it, even if it is required by this
GR - creating the first of a probably long line of
exceptions. Re-affirming the Social Contract (or actually changing it)
in this way thus seems to be fundamentally dishonest, as we are not
actually willing to use this rule in all cases. [1]

Even if, magically, the DFSG violations in core packages would just be
fixed (after being known for a few years) I firmly believe that such a
strict rule would hurt the cause of free software. Yeah, flame on, but
read my rational before doing so. 

Most DFSG violations have been fixed quite fast in the past. If such an
issue stays open for a longer time (for example, more than 60 days),
usually one of the following three option applies: 
 (a) Noone cares because the package simply isn't in use.
 (b) People care, a clarification from upstream would be enough, but
     that takes a lot of time.
 (c) People care, code needs to be rewritten or data needs to be
     regenerated, but there is nobody available who's both interested
     and able to do so.

We solve (a) with a simple removal from the archive, so a move to
non-free wouldn't actually happen. If we are in case (b) or (c), we
would need to move the package to non-free. The biggest example would be
texlive, I think. So, what do you think what happens when we move
texlive to non-free? [2] I think people using tex either switch to
another distribution or add non-free to their sources.list. This will
not help to put free software on more machines, it will actually make it
harder to do so.

Anyway, I do not think that this discussion will lead to a useful
result. We are seeing two fundamentally different beliefs here - I
believe that Debian has to stay relevant and useful to make it possible
to distribute a completely free universal operating system in the
From what I can gather from your mails, it seems to me that you would
prefer to distribute a completely free operating system now, even if this
means that quite a few users will switch to something different. Yes,
this description is biased and I know it, but I don't claim to be

Perhaps I'm wrong to believe that Debian is about bringing free software
to users. Perhaps it's just about free software and users actually don't
matter when there's a higher goal.


 [1] At this point, I assume that moving all packages to non-free is not
     something people would actually consider. If you do feel that it's
     a viable option ... Well, then we have nothing to discuss and
     nothing to agree on, so let's just vote.
 [2] Let's just ignore all the (build-)r-deps...
BOFH #336:
the xy axis in the trackball is coordinated with the summer soltice

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