[Fsf-Debian] few arguments to FSF

Adam Bolte abolte at systemsaviour.com
Fri Aug 10 16:33:22 UTC 2012

Hi Dmitry.

On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 10:56:27PM +1000, Dmitry Smirnov wrote:
> On Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:40:32 Adam Bolte wrote:
> > I concur that the repository is required for some hardware, but non-free
> > goes well beyond that. We don't need an Adobe Flash installer, or non-free
> > fonts, etc. I think we should either get rid of all those non-critical
> > packages, or spin off the non-free repository to some maintainers outside
> > of the Debian project. Then perhaps the Debian project would restrict
> > itself to maintaining those truly essential non-free packages only - an
> > only for so long as they are strictly required - and otherwise limiting
> > resources controlled by the Debian project to free software packages only.
> I agree with everything you've said.
> You're right we have plenty of 'convenience' software in non-free which we 
> don't have to have. However let's not forget about some multimedia content 
> there which is not necessarily evil but merely a non-fit for strict 'main' 
> criteria.

That's a good point. I consider a lot of the GFDL documentation to be
non-evil, even though a lot of it is in non-free. However, I hardly expect the
Debian project to change its stance on these. They have already been judged
non-free based on the DFSG, and I respect the Debian project's decision.

Perhaps someone who is interested in this can make a 3rd party repository with
the goal of making it easy to install free software that Debian won't include
in main... but then who's guidelines would you use to determine what is free?
The FSF? Maybe the FSF wouldn't agree to certain free software video decoders
because of potential patent issues in certain countries, but most people would
want these anyway?

Without a new clear set of guidelines to follow, I could see creating such a
repository would get ugly real fast. My suggestion would be to simply drop
anything not hardware-essential that is currently outside of main, and let 3rd
parties sort out any messy edge cases.

Heck, if we can get the Debian distribution good enough to make forks like
gNewSense practically redundant, perhaps contributors to those projects might
like to instead work on maintaining such a repository?

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