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

Bart Martens <bartm@debian.org> writes:
> On Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 09:27:58AM +0100, Wouter Verhelst wrote:

>> You can use pidgin-facebookchat to talk to a non-free service; but
>> whatever you do, the result will *never* be that you end up with a
>> system which has some non-DFSG-free software installed. As such, I
>> don't think it's necessary that you not be able to reach this on a
>> system that only has "main" enabled.

That's my interpretation as well.

> OK, you seem to draw the line where non-free is installed or not on the
> local system.  That makes somewhat sense to me.  But then the part
> "which require software outside of the distribution to either build or
> function" in debian-policy should be replaced by something like "which
> causes software outside of the distribution to be installed on the local
> system".

I don't consider Policy canonical for this wording.  If we're going to
make a change to Policy, I would prefer to remove Policy's attempted
elaboration and just copy the language verbatim from the Social Contract.
It's the Social Contract that is canonical, and I think any updates should
be done via updates to the Social Contract.  I'm very uncomfortable with
attempting to deal with something this politically sensitive via the
Policy process.

contrib software satisfies the DFSG, so the relevant portion of the Social
Contract is point #1:

    We provide the guidelines that we use to determine if a work is "free"
    in the document entitled "The Debian Free Software Guidelines".  We
    promise that the Debian system and all its components will be free
    according to these guidelines.  We will support people who create or
    use both free and non-free works on Debian.  We will never make the
    system require the use of a non-free component.

The debate is therefore over what "require the use of" means.  I think one
can make an argument that an installer package that automatically
downloads and installs non-free software does "require the use of" that
non-free software, although it's sort of a weird definition of "use"
(since it doesn't actually require that you USE the Flash plugin; it's
just sitting on your disk).  I think that argument gets weaker and weaker
for software that interfaces with external services; in that case, not
only is the "require the use of" part debatable, so is the "component"

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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