Debian and non-free (Re: Savannah rejects a project because it uses GPL)
Alfred M. Szmidt
ams at gnu.org
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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