Defining Free Software Business

Sam Liddicott sam at
Tue Jun 27 16:41:20 UTC 2006

Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>      'We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of works
>      that do not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We
>      have created "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our archive for
>      these works. The packages in these areas are not part of the
>      Debian system, although they have been configured for use with
>      Debian.'  --
>    Maybe neither of us agrees with the resulting action, but I think
>    that's an understandable, clear and obvious motive.  The Debian OS
>    itself is 100% free software nevertheless and the project doesn't
>    develop proprietary software.
> No, it isn't.  It is quite irrelevant how much you quote the Social
> Contract.  Go look at for a change, specially in the
> non-free and contrib directories.  Infact, Debian does develop
> non-free software, since DD's who support the non-free section do
> exactly that, develop it.
>    I'd expect
>    the debian project to be in GBN's contrib list, not GBN itself.
> I expect GBN not to have a "contrib" list, since such a list will only
> recommend companies that do non-free software.
Such a list will be seen by some (possibly including you) to condemn
companies that do non-free software. The only people who would regard a
citation on such a list as a pure recommendation also open and reply to
spam mails with great expectations.

FSF seem to refrain from any activity that involves people making up
their own minds, and anxious to avoid providing any material in any form
which might help a user incorrectly arrive at the "wrong" conclusion.

Sadly this tendancy also makes it hard for many free thinkers to find
anything to help them come to the right conclusion.

If GBN goes the way it looks like, then I expect it to be largely
irrelevant to me and those I associate with; this is no standard of
usefullness or good (naturally) but it is a standard of uselessness that
one can hope is not replicated widely, otherwise GBN will be "correct"
but almost entirely without benefit.


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