[Fsf-Debian] Firefighting in this forum

Bryan Baldwin bryan at katofiad.co.nz
Wed Aug 8 04:20:31 UTC 2012

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On 08/08/2012 02:13 PM, Ben Finney wrote:
> I appeal to you to consider why you're participating here and
> whether you are helping or hurting your goal by communicating in
> this inflammatory us-versus-them way; and I appeal to others here
> to consider how much energy to expend on firefighting.

I fail to see an us vs them situation. Me vs you, maybe, and only on
the grounds that it isn't helpful to demand of me to accept your claim
that Debian is free on the basis of definitions instead of what is
actually user-facing. Its seems to me that some parties on both sides
have agreed with me. Only you and one other person have brought
inflexible views to me. Who told me I was irrational for saying Debian
is a nonfree distribution, and proceeding to obfuscate the matter with
gratuitous internal definitions that don't actually effect what Debian
is in the wild.

I haven't demonized Debian. I have said Debian has done heavy lifting
in the promotion of user's freedom, and only criticized very specific
problems with self-congratulatory claims to be free, and one or two
lines in the foundational documents. But the problem is there, and
when mentioned, the critic gets buried in bureaucratic dogma.

This is hardly a demand for complete transformation. We have largely
moved past the issue of Debian's contradictory definitions, and worked
out some reasonable ideas about migrating nonfree packages away from
the distribution. It hasn't caused any friction at all to discuss this
with others who accept that the nonfree parts are effectively as much
a part of Debian as everything else.
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