[Fsf-Debian] Who gets to say what the definition of “Debian” is? (was: No response?)

Bryan Quigley gquigs at gmail.com
Sat Aug 4 17:14:14 UTC 2012

> > What project or system is non-free a part of?
> Why do you assume it is part of any project or operating system?
> The claim I'm refuting is that non-free is “really” part of Debian. The
> organisation which gets to declare that is the Debian project; they say
> it's not. That should settle whether it is or is not “really” part of
> Debian.
Let's be more precise. There is the Debian distribution and the Debian

"Packages in the other archive areas (contrib, non-free) are not considered
to be part of the Debian distribution, although we support their use and
provide infrastructure for them (such as our bug-tracking system and
mailing lists)."[1]

I agree that the Debian Project can define that the Debian distribution
does not contain contrib and non-free.

non-free and contrib are however part of the Debian Project.  You cannot
define, maintain, support, provide infrastructure for something and then
say it's not a part of what you do.

At the very least it falls under name confusion [2].

> Now, I agree that there is widespread confusion over this in people's
> understanding of what is in Debian; which is a large part of why this
> forum has been created. But we participating here need to agree on
> definitions as fundamental as this, or agreement on what to do is rather
> hopeless.

I agree.  The confusion is however enough for the FSF to not consider the
Debian distribution free.


[1] http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html
[2] http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html
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