[Fsf-Debian] No response?

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Fri Aug 3 15:46:47 UTC 2012

On 08/03/2012 05:19 AM, Paul van der Vlis wrote:
> First step could be to move everything from non-free and contrib to a
> repository of another organization, let's call it "debian-nonfree" (but
> we could also choose a name without "Debian" in it).

section 5 of the Debian Social Contract explicitly says, under the
heading "Works that do not meet our free software standards":

>> 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. The 
>> packages in these areas are not part of the Debian system, although 
>> they have been configured for use with Debian. We encourage CD 
>> manufacturers to read the licenses of the packages in these areas and 
>> determine if they can distribute the packages on their CDs. Thus, 
>> although non-free works are not a part of Debian, we support their use 
>> and provide infrastructure for non-free packages (such as our bug 
>> tracking system and mailing lists).


> I think only Debian DD's and DM's should be welcome as a member of this
> organization, so the quality of the packages in the repository is the
> same as in Debian.

Every Debian Developer and Debian Maintainer has agreed to the DSC.
What you're proposing seems to strike out this final clause, or perhaps
(more minimally) to replace "support their use and provide
infrastructure" to "cooperate with nonfree.org, which supports their use
and provides infrastructure".  Changes to the Social Contract happen
only as a result of a General Resolution.  This is doable, but it needs
to be pretty well-justified.

> In the statutes of the organization we could write that the organization
> will do what Debian decides.

So the net change of this proposal is now that there need to be two sets
of infrastructure maintained, and there would be feature parity with
what currently exists.  Who is going to maintain the new set of

> This should be only a little change, so the goal is not directly to come
> on the FSF-free list, only to make steps in this direction and to make
> Debian 100% open source.

Debian is already 100% free software.  Does it need to be open source
too? :)

In your followup, you write:

> In the beginning we could be 'friendly' to such a nonfree organization.
> E.g. make a disabled line in /etc/apt/sources.list and make references
> to it on debian.org etc. But it could be a release goal for Jessie +1 to
> remove those references.

Currently, i believe a default install does not add the non-free apt
repo to sources.list unless the user explicitly requests it.  So you're
actually proposing *adding* a reference to a non-free repo in the
default sources.list (albeit a commented-out one)?

i'm not sure i see what the gain is here, but i can certainly see the
extra labor it sets up.  So it seems like a bad tradeoff to me.  can you
help me understand why it might be a better tradeoff than it appears?


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