[Fsf-Debian] No response?

Bryan Baldwin bryan at katofiad.co.nz
Mon Aug 6 00:12:48 UTC 2012

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With one exception (below) I can't find where we disagree. I think the
commitment to being a free distribution is more important then whether
any particular distribution is free right now or not. I could very well
be that if Debian met all my points it might still not be considered
free by nature of how well integrated contrib and nonfree are. This
isn't a problem for free distributions that have never maintained any
nonfree software.

Having thought about the threads from yesterday, I discover two points
that are at the heart of the matter for me.

* The doublethink of some of the people who seemed to me to be speaking
to me as representative of Debian. I understand that Debian has a fully
functional fully free subset of the system. I admire that Debian
developers have gone to the effort required to make it functionally
separate. I do not admire the lack of ownership over contrib/nonfree.

* It would be very disturbing if FSF took on the aforementioned quality.
If FSF conceded Debian's freedom claims, FSF would no longer be
trustworthy as a representative of people's freedom.

Which brings me full circle to the Ivory Tower problem, where critics of
Debian aren't allowed to vocalize their criticism without being
criticized in return for "ingratitude" as it were. On the contrary, I do
very much appreciate the work that developers have done to enable
freedom in the community. But that is given to the community freely.
It does not require unnecessary platitudes in return and does it
excuse the lying. Having contrib and nonfree repositories is bad, but
its not nearly as bad as refusing ownership over it and obfuscating
its existence with purely tautological language.

Here is where we disagree.

On 08/06/2012 01:04 AM, Paul van der Vlis wrote:
> I am sure you would like to have a free bios, a free router, free 
> (cell)phones, a free TV and a free DVD player. Do you have them 
> allready? In the case not: if you really wanted to be free, you
> would have removed all those non-free devices.

That isn't intellectually honest. Its an intolerable bit of casuistry
that I do not like the stink of. This is why:

* None of what I've said, or what anyone has said, has been an attack on
the choices of users. GNU+Linux development is not intended to govern
what individual people choose to take and use, only provide free
choices for cosideration. People who value freedom may try to convince
people that freedom is important. We do not tell them what to do.

* I do not distribute or promote nonfree software or devices.
Technological freedom movements have nothing whatsoever to do with
auditing the contents of people's homes. It has everything to do with
making it possible for people to convey knowledge to one another in
freedom respecting ways. It does have everything to do critically
analyzing what developers are distributing to users.

Debian is not simply choosing to have nonfree software for personal
use, they are publicly distributing nonfree software. I'm not saying
they should be stopped if that's what they want to do. I'm saying that
no one who says its free should be taken seriously. Its intellectually
insulting when something insists that I am confused when I don't.
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