Debian and non-free (Re: Savannah rejects a project because it uses GPL)

Alfred M. Szmidt ams at
Thu Feb 16 19:04:31 UTC 2006

   > > > Nor is FDL-licensed documentation removed, it is _moved_ to
   > > > the non-free section.  Which is part of Debian, desite
   > > > whatever claims people will make.
   > > Well, here we come back to names and definitions. [...]
   > [...]
   > Debian GNU/Linux (main) is 100% free software, yes.  But Debian
   > as a whole is not, and not even Debian GNU/Linux as a whole.
   > Since non-free is part of the Debian project.

   As I said, here we come to the area of definitions. If you want to
   make your own, that's your right. But please do not contradict
   people in a way like their definition is wrong and your
   non-standard definition is the only way to truth.

The only part that is inventing definitions is the Debian project and
its developers.  If the GNU project would have had non-free software
on their FTP site, people would grab their pitch forks.  The same
should hold for Debian any other project.  

   > >  But Debian does not promise those will be free, but that it
   > >  will create a 100% free operating system, which it really
   > >  tries.
   > I'd like to know what `free' means in your vocubalary.  You have
   > switched between `free software' and `free', it seems to me that
   > they are the say for you.

   With free in this context I mean the (of course somewhat fuzzy)
   meaning of "free in the sense of free software".

Care to unfuzz it a bit?  Are you saying that all digital content
should be free to be modified?

   > We all make them, Debian on the other hand _explicitly_ allows
   > non-free software in its distribution (that you, and other Debian
   > developer, simply try to redefine what constitues the system just
   > to justify the inclusion of non-free software is far worse than
   > by error including non-free software).

   Debian ships an operating system, which is supposed to be 100%

Once again, what is `free' here?

   and does so quite good, with of course the obvious errors and
   problems, like sometime slipping some non-free program here or
   there, or like in the current case some large amount of non-free

What non-free documentation is this?  All documents licensed under the
GFDL are free documents.

   If you think it is bad to aim at a 100% free operating system (and
   reaching it quite well) and offering additional support so that
   even people not able to live in a purist world can have to
   advantages of free-software, I can do nothing against that. I can
   only repeat that my priorities are to help people, especialy by
   enabling them to use free software.

I never, ever, claimed that it was a bad thing to aim at a 100% free
software system (once again, I have no idea of what you mean by
"free", so lets stick to something we can define).  Debian on the
other hand, does _not_ aim for such a system; it claims to, but it has
on a continued basis for more then 10 years distributed non-free
software, promoted its usage, and more or less said that it is OK to
use non-free software.

None of this is OK by a long shot.

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