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Re: [all candidates] Return to the desert island (cont.)

On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 11:39:29PM +0100, Jérémy Bobbio wrote:
> 1. Some software Debian distribute are actually only useful when
>    connected to the Internet to access services for which the
>    source code is unavailable.
> 2. The Debian policy states (emphasis is mine):
>      # 2.2.2 The contrib archive area
>      The contrib archive area contains supplemental packages intended to
>      work with the Debian distribution, but **which require software
>      outside of the distribution to either build or function**.
>      Every package in contrib must comply with the DFSG.
> 3. One test I've been taught to use to reason about free software is the
>    Desert Island test [2] which starts by:
> [2] <http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html>
>      Imagine a castaway on a desert island with a solar-powered
>      computer.
>   Obviously, software that are only frontends to unreproducible “cloud”
>   services do not pass the desert island test.
> Dear candidates, do you think that libechonest [3] should be called free
> software? As it requires software outside of the distribution to
> function, do you think it should be moved to contrib? What about
> s3cmd [4] then?
> [3] <http://packages.qa.debian.org/libe/libechonest.html>
> [4] <http://packages.qa.debian.org/s/s3cmd.html>

Good question.  See also for example bug 681659.  I don't know why
pidgin-facebookchat would belong in section main while flashplugin-nonfree
would belong section contrib.  Both packages contain software that can freely
be redistributed but require software outside of the distribution to function.
Where to draw the line ?

> Do you think that it's a fight that's worth fighting?

It's not about legal problems the Debian project could get in trouble with.
But it is related to one of the core goals of the Debian project.


Bart Martens

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