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Re: gr_lenny vs gr_socialcontract

On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 02:44:46PM +0100, Johannes Wiedersich wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> >         I suspect it would not be hard to create a non-free installer CD
> >  that obviates the requirement of a separate USB key for remote
> >  installs.
> If (almost?) everyone will use non-free stuff anyway, why not just make
> live more easy for everyone and include it on all the installer images.
> People still have the freedom to buy freely supported hardware or to not
> use non-free firmware.

So then debian becomes the "100% Free Operating System (some
restrictions apply.  see details*)

(* Operating system deosn't include installer images, or kernel.  Freedom
only guaranteed on one CPU.)

> I don't think that any computer will be more 'free' whether some
> non-free code is loaded on boot from hard disk (kernel firmware blob) or
> whether the non-free code is loaded from ROM like the BIOS. IMHO, it
> also does not contribute in any way to freedom to force users to load
> the firmware blobs from a separate installation medium.  Or to drive them
> into buying hardware with on board ROM chips for the then still non-free
> firmware/software.

The point isn't to try to force users to only have free software on
their machines, the point is to only have free software in debian.

In my eyes, it is important to make a very clear distinction between
what is free and what is not free, even If it means some inconvenience.
It would be nice to be able to say with more confidence,  "If you get it
from debian main, you can be assured it is free.  Debian worries about
the licenses, so you don't have to."

If we make users have to decide between the "100% free installer" and
the "installer with non-free", and it makes the user have to think about
"what is this non-free stuff, and why should I care".  I think it is an
added side benefit.  If a user at some point decides to "vote with their
pocketbook", by choosing a piece of hardware based on its compatibility
with debian, I think that could also be a benefit.

> I don't understand the clout around the fight for removing the little
> bits of non-free firmware for the network cards, while practically no
> one is able to run his/her computer without much more non-free code
> hidden in all the other places.

Because if its software, and its not free software, it just doens't
belong in debian.  Read the last paragraph of the social contract:

    "We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of works
that do not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have
created "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our archive for these works"

We can still acknowlege that some our users require the use of non-free
software during the install process, without having to keep main

A line has to be drawn somewhere.  If we don't fight for the line, I
worry about it becoming a slippery slope that starts with firmware, then
starts to include all kinds of binary blobs like the non-free nvidia
drivers, then who knows what, a non-free userspace Then stuff like
ipw3945d, then at some point the discussion we are having is "why not
include rar, since we already have all of this other non-free stuff.

The arguments about "we are losing users to [other distro] becuase of
this"  Hold very little weight.  "Be a popular distro" is not a goal of
debian, "Be a free distro" is.  "Let's include non-free software because
everyone else is" is a counter-argument to me.  If we are the only ones
left that cares so much, all the more reason to stick to our principles.


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