Defining Free Software Business

Peter Adolphs futzilogik at
Wed Jun 28 14:11:32 UTC 2006

Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>    > It is the case, Debian gives space, distributes non-free
>    > software, and explicitly supports non-free software.  Just
>    > because you and MJ like to insist that "It isn't the case"
>    > doesn't make it any less true.
>    The debian /project/ does those things.  I don't like it, but I've
>    never denied it.  The debian OS shouldn't do any of those things.
> [...]
>    Debian doesn't include non-free software.  
> So which is it? Debian doesn't support and distribute non-free? Or
> does it?

Since the first statement clearly speaks of the "Debian project" and the
second of "Debian", and since MJ Ray made you aware of the fact that
there is a difference between the two, I cannot see a contradiction.

Have you read something about the Debian Project and Debian and the
relation between both?

  "The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made
  common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system
  that we have created is called Debian GNU/Linux, or simply Debian for

This clearly refers to two different concepts:
1) the Debian Project
2) the operating system Debian GNU/Linux

The operating system is also called "Debian". The Debian Project is not
the operating system, it (the Debian Project) distributes the system
distribution (Debian). I have the impression that you use the term
"Debian" not only to refer to the operating system but to refer to the
Debian Project alike. But calling the Debian Project "Debian" is your
personal terminology.

>    I'm not sure why it isn't recommended by the GNU project.
> Because it _includes and supports_ non-free software.  It is really
> that simple.

  "All packages that are included in the official Debian distribution
  are free according to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. [...] The
  official Debian distribution is what is contained in the main section
  of the Debian archive."

Thus, Debian does *not* include non-free, plain as that. However, the
Debian Project distributes non-free on their servers. But since Debian
is not the Debian Project but a free operating system distribution, it
is not clear why Debian is not listed as a free GNU/Linux distribution

>    > No, I mean Debian the project as a whole, every part of the
>    > project.  Including Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/Hurd, Debian
>    > GNU/k*BSD, etc etc
>    Debian is not the project, it's the operating system.  All of
>    Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/Hurd, Debian GNU/k*BSD should be 100%
>    free software or it's a serious bug that will be dealt with
>    accordingly.
> Then please explain non-free which are part of those systems

You don't mean the official Debian distributions, do you? Because it has
been made clear over and over again that the official Debian
distribution ought not include non-free software, and that if some
package depends on non-free software, it will be removed from main, i.e.
it will be removed from the official Debian distribution.

> , and part of the Debian project.

What do you mean by "part of Debian project"? As stated, the Debian
Project is a group of people, not a software system of which non-free
software could be a part of.

You are probably attacking the fact that these people do not only offer
the free Debian distribution on their servers but also offer non-free
software that integrates into Debian. Maybe you also want to say that
distinguishing between the Debian Project and the Debian distribution
(aka Debian) is splitting hairs. *But these are different issues.* If
you want to discuss this, then please make your point clear by adopting
common terminology, but do not say that Debian includes non-free
software, since others do not equate "Debian" with "Debian Project" as
you obviously do.

> You said your self so in the first paragraph of
> this message, but later contradicted yourself.

No, you're using your personal terminology when it comes to "Debian" and
are thereby obscuring issues. We cannot have a serious discussion, if
you are redefining the words others use without making this clear.

Sorry for the nitpicking but it seems to be necessary for the discussion
to go on...


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