[Fsf-Debian] few arguments to FSF

Paul van der Vlis paul at vandervlis.nl
Fri Aug 10 13:47:23 UTC 2012

Op 10-08-12 14:36, Dmitry Smirnov schreef:
> On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 19:23:41 Paul van der Vlis wrote:

>> Yes, but only because you bought wrong hardware ;-)
> My bad, but such mistakes will be made again and again.

You are right, it's difficult.

> Another example: three years ago I started working for a company who already 
> bought two Dell PowerEdge 2950 servers for a new project. I was promoting 
> Debian to them and in that regards it was absolutely critical for Debian to 
> have Broadcom firmware necessary to bring onboard NICs to life.
> Without such firmware in 'non-free' I would fail to do my job and ultimately 
> Debian would fail. This is a small price to pay for luxury of having Debian on 
> every single machine available - if you have many, some of them would require 
> proprietary drivers eventually. 

I would do the same.

Sometimes it's an idea not-to-use the onboard NIC, but to buy another
PCI-E one. It's a problem that many boot-CD's do not have such firmware.
Sometimes you need them when there are problems.

>> I can understand that. The point is that many people who use Debian do
>> not buy such hardware, so they do not need such drivers, so they don't
>> upload them to non-free. It's a circle.
> Certainly it's nice if you can buy hardware for Debian.
> Often it's about how to use Debian for existent hardware which is already 
> bought without such considerations 

After some time this will be less a problem.

> of if you're hiring a server from datacentre.

There is choice in organizations who rent servers.

> I'm not prepared to give up Debian for the lack of non-free firmware/driver 
> which they would use anyway but from CentOS/Fedora/RedHat/younameit.


> Non-free helps me to use Debian whenever I can and helps me to promote Debian.
> Together with Debian we promote a good attitude against non-free not to ban it 
> entirely but to discourage and eventually decommission.

But the packages could be moved to something what's not called "Debian".

>> I don't think we need it *in Debian*. We need it, and we need good
>> quality, but it could also come from another good organization.
> This is an organisational question which is not that important to me.
> It really depends on FSF point of view - if they would be more happy
> with us still maintaining non-free under different governance so be
> it.

No, not only. I think we should move it away even when the FSF still
calls us a nonfree distro.

> However I 
> believe we need 'non-free', possibly with different regulations to accommodate 
> "good stuff" like documentation. Non-DFSG documentation is better to be a part
> of the project.

In Debian we want to have the freedom to change something, and you may
not do that in such documentation. People can read it on the internet is
my opinion.

>> I think we should move non-free parts from Debian, and put it into the
>> repositories of something else, I call that "nonfree.org".
> Somehow I think it is little more difficult than just move it away....

It could be difficult if you want to have it completely separated.
And a point is, who wants to do that work?

It could be relative easy when it would be the same system with only a
different hostname. Not sure about that...

>> I think we can get rid of contrib and non-free by moving it to something
>> else. Something we can trust. The same as we have now but not under the
>> name "Debian" anymore.
> Then we would loose some of the control that we have over non-free. How would 
> we guarantee it won't become more evil?
> One of the benefits we have in non-free that it is maintained with the same 
> procedures so at least it have some qualities. 

nonfree.org could only allow DD's and DA's to upload. And we could ask
the maintainers who are doing now work for non-free and contrib to
continue that on nonfree.org.

With regards,
Paul van der Vlis.

Paul van der Vlis Linux systeembeheer, Groningen

More information about the Fsf-collab-discuss mailing list