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+[[!meta title="Debian votes on the status of non-free"]]
+[[!meta author="Daniel Silverstone"]]
+[[!meta date="2004-03-14 22:35:00 +0000"]]
+[[!tag old-livejournal]]
+
+Several people have been speaking about the current
+<a href="http://www.uk.debian.org/vote/2004/vote_002">non-free
+vote</a> going on in Debian. I feel that perhaps the people talking
+about it have been presenting a somewhat one-sided view of the issue and
+I think I’d like to make a note of my opinion and the reasoning behind
+my decision to vote to reaffirm Debian’s commitment to providing the
+non-free section of the archive. I live, and work, with many Debian
+<b>users</b>. The very people that Debian exists in order to provide
+for. Perhaps many people in Debian believe that it exists only for those
+whose views on Free Software (Or Open Source Software, Or FLOSS, or
+whatever you want to call it today) are such that the mere thought of
+using non-free software sends them into paroxysms of evangelism about
+the dangers of not being able to read the source code of software. I
+would love to know if those who think Debian should not carry a non-free
+section, in order to support those of our users who **need** a bit of
+software which the community can not yet provide a suitable alternative
+to, whether or not they run their free software on open hardware running
+free firmware using only free software in every part of their lives. If
+they don’t ~~- then perhaps they should consider that there might be a
+place for non-free software in the <em>Universal Operating System</em> I
+expect some people will attack me for that opinion~~- that I shouldn’t
+“perpetuate” non-free software by refusing to boycott it ~~- but
+ultimately I believe that I will use the best piece of software to solve
+the issue that I have at hand. If that software is non-free then it
+loses some “points” as it were, but that won’t necessarily prevent it
+from being the best solution for the problem in my eyes. Now it happens
+that for the most part, I find that GNU/Linux operating systems are
+often the best solution to computing problems, indeed that Debian
+GNU/Linux has rarely failed me in terms of the operating system of
+choice… <i><b>But</b></i> I also feel it’s important to note that the
+best PDF reader I have available to me on my computer is, in my opinion,
+<a href="http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html">Acrobat
+Reader</a>, the best version control system I have available to me is
+<a href="http://www.perforce.com/">Perforce</a> , the best vector
+graphics package is <a href="http://www.xara.com/">Xara X</a>
+which of course needs Windows and thus
+<a href="http://www.vmware.com/">Vmware</a> as the best virtualising
+tool. And the best operating system my for my parents’ computer? Windows
+2000 of course. Then again, I am informed that Debian’s new release
+won’t release with an installation system which will allow users to use
+non-free software by default anyway. Indeed Joey Hess says:
+\<blockquote\>But also secondly because regardless of the outcome of
+this GR, the sarge installation will not ask about including non-free in
+sources.list, and only users well-versed in using Debian will notice,
+care, or modify sources.list manually to include
+it.\</blockquote\><br>Now I thought that Joey’s main remit was the
+<a href="http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/">debian-installer</a>
+system. The bit of the system which asks about non-free in Woody appears
+to be
+<a href="http://packages.debian.org/base-config">base-config</a>
+which afaict isn’t Joey’s domain but rather that of the entire Debian
+Boot team. <em>Then again, it looks like the entire of Debian’s
+Boot/Installer team defer almost entirely to Joey~~- it’s good to have a
+charismatic leader who can make a large team pull together, but that
+doesn’t make it good to follow them unquestioningly</em> <small>(For
+those of you reading this posting on Planet-Debian or similar
+syndication systems, please consider visiting the Livejournal page
+linked to this posting and make your opinions known. Read what others
+have to say, and let others know what you think.)</small>