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Re: Call for seconds: DFSG violations in Lenny

On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 05:45:37PM +0100, Johannes Wiedersich wrote:
> GNU alone is not an OS

Actually, it is.  But hardly anyone uses GNU's kernel, the Hurd.
Instead, most people use Linux as their kernel.  Since that particular
combination is so common, it has a name: GNU/Linux.

> the kernel alone is not an OS. But without a working kernel (including
> network) it won't be possible to download the non-free blobs necessary
> to install or run the OS.

If you had read Manoj's mail, you could have noticed that he talked
about options such as non-free alternative debian-installer images which
include the non-free blobs, as is done for the NSLU[0].  When using such
an image, there's no reason that it would be any harder to install
Debian (plus non-free blobs, for those who want that) than it is now.

[1] That's a box which is sold as "network storage link", but really
    includes the hardware to run a real OS; it needs a non-free firmware
    blob for its built-in network device.

> If I add a non-free blob to a computer running debian it won't run debian
> any more.

Nonsense.  If I install Debian and install some software (free or not)
from another source (say, debian-multimedia.org), then it becomes Debian
+ that software.

If we should follow your definition, Windows doesn't have any users
either, because everyone who has it installed also has some other
software installed...  Not a very useful definition, IMO.

For example, the Debian kernels are patched, but they're still called

> If you disagree with this, where exactly do you draw the line between a
> computer running debian and a computer running a different distribution?
> (Debian, ubuntu, debian software + red hat kernel, etc.)

Appearantly, you're saying that any computer that has any software
installed which is not from the Debian archive is not running Debian,
and even if 99% of the software on that computer is from our archive,
people using that are not Debian users.  I have some news for you: I
estimate that the number of users Debian currently has according to that
definition is approximately zero.

In your other mail you say that by telling people that they use non-free
software (by putting it in non-free), we're kicking users out.  I
suppose you're using this definition for it.  Since Debian didn't have
any users with this definition anyway, we can't kick them out either.

Of course there is a grey zone.  If people have a sources.list file
which includes both Debian and Ubuntu mirrors (no idea if that works
without problems, but I think it should), then they're not really
running one of the two systems.  Does that mean that the only sensible
definition of "running Debian" must be a useless one?  I don't think so.
It just means it's not really possible to objectively tell what system a
machine is running in some obscure cases.  I don't really care; in most
cases the answer is obvious, and useful.

> It's all a bit too much of hair splitting, I admit. But it was the hair
> splitting of others that moved the firmware out of debian.

Actually, that hasn't happened yet.  We're working on it. ;-)

> So please include the non-free firmware in debian and in the installer
> and amend the SC as necessary.

Huh?  I thought you were arguing that what you said was completely in
line with what the SC currently said?  What sort of amendmend would you
propose?  Drop SC#1?  I don't think there'll be many DDs in favour of
that. ;-)


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