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Re: non-free?

Hi Paul,

On Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 05:43:25PM +0800, Paul Wise wrote:
> To the candidates,
> Which packages from Debian contrib/non-free do you use or have installed?

On my laptop, I have: firmware-realtek, icc-profiles, intel-microcode, skype
and steam from non-free, and flashplugin-nonfree, iucode-tool from contrib.

On my server, I have pine, which I don't use but some of the users on it seem
to be unwilling to move to anything else.

> How do you feel about Debian's approach to non-free software laid out
> in Social Contract item 5? Is it the right approach? Should we change
> it?

I believe that is a good balance at the moment. This manages to balance
the two core characterics I mentioned in my platform: "We care about
software freedom" and "We care about our users".

There is an argument that has been brought up many times on our lists
around SC#4 as well in this area. One school of thought is that a 100%
strict adherance to only using free software is in itself in the
interest of our users.
I don't subscribe to this view. Although it *is* in the interest of our
users to use 100% free software, if they're unable to use their
computers, or get real work done with a free operating system, then
that doesn't help progress free software and Debian.

> How much support should Debian give for non-free packages? 

Whatever maintainers are willing to do, and as a project on a
best-effort basis.

> Should the bug tracker accept reports about non-free packages?

Yes, it's very little cost to the project to do so.

> Should non-free packages remain in the Debian archive and mirror
> network?

Yes, see the last answer for more details.

> Should we continue to provide buildds for select non-free packages?

Yes, if there's people willing to run the non-free network.

> Should non-free packages be part of releases and or receive security
> support?

It depends what you mean for 'release' and 'support', but I think my
answer is 'sort of', on a best effort basis. If there's people willing
to put in the work then I don't think we should stand in their way, but
the focus of Debian should be on main.

> If we were to drop non-free from debian.org, what level of separation
> between non-free.org and debian.org is appropriate? The name only?
> Completely separate infrastructure and developer set? Somewhere in
> between?

I don't think that splitting this up helps our users. Using debian.org
provides a trusted distribution mechanism. I think it's better that
people get trusted non-free packages from us, than get them from a
random third party by burying our heads in the sand and pretending
non-free software doesn't exist.


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