[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [DRAFT] resolving DFSG violations

On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 12:23:22PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 23 2008, martin f krafft wrote:

> > It's all a matter of defining what your priorities are, which brings
> > us back to the Social Contract, which says that these include:

> >   - 100% freeness
> >   - cater best to the interests of our users

>         Frankly, this mindset infuriates me. It frames the discussion
>  incorrectly, it implies that freeness and user interest are at
>  odds.

No, it acknowledges that freeness and user interest are *sometimes* at
odds, and leaves it up to humans with faculties of reason to sort out which
of these two competing factors takes precedence in any given situation.

Otherwise, it might as well have just said "Our priority is our users"; if
you believe that what's best for free software is *always* what's best for
our users, and that what's best for our users is to use only free software,
then there's no need to spell this out as two *separate* priorities, right?

For users whose world is not circumscribed by the boundaries of the Debian
project, it is often the case that their short-term needs cannot be
satisfied by strictly free-software solutions.  To demand, then, that users
make do with Free Software when it doesn't meet their needs is
self-defeating: it denies us the support of users who are potentially
sympathetic to the principles of Free Software, and it denies them the use
of the best OS on the planet.

To forestall the inevitable strawmen, I'll say plainly that I am *not*
arguing that this justifies including non-free software in Debian proper.
What I *am* arguing is that we are called by the Social Contract to help
ensure Debian's continued utility to the general population, because if
nothing else, that's where we find the next generations of developers who
will keep our project alive.  This doesn't mean we should all drop what
we're doing and work on the firmware issue; but at the very least,
developers shouldn't be sanguine about proposing the outright removal of
firmware blobs, with no support for loading them from non-free, as a

>         The same goes for people who are complaining oabout advocates
>  of the social contract and libre software, calling them folks who do
>  not care for users. I contend that people who stuff main with non-free
>  stuff _are_ the ones acting against the interests of the users in the
>  long term,

It's pretty insulting to suggest that there is a non-zero set of developers
who have been "stuffing" non-free stuff into main, particularly when the
very kernel team that's being maligned by this implication is the same group
that has already done the heavy lifting of as much of the sourceless
firmware removal as we've achieved so far.

>         Why is not putting non-free firmware in non-free not the right
>  thing to do?

It is the right thing to do; and while I know there are people that
disagree, I haven't seen anyone in *this thread* disagree with that.  But
there are lots of other things that are "right" to do, and not all of them
are possible to achieve at the same time with limited resources.  Is it
still the Right Thing to remove non-free firmware if we don't also make it
possible to load it from non-free at the same time?  Is it the Right Thing
to delay the next release indefinitely while the firmware problems are
sorted out?

Right now, I suspect the right thing to do might be for me to abandon this
thread and go fix some bugs instead.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

Reply to: