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Re: Whether remotely running software is considered "software" for Debian.

On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 08:46:43AM +1000, Ben Finney wrote:
> The language is clear that it is talking about dependency in the sense
> of requiring the program installed on the system in order for the
> program to build or execute.

I think the mention of package dependencies is an incomplete list of examples.
But even if it was meant to be complete, thinking for a moment about the
purpose of Debian should make clear that your interpretation cannot be correct:

The reason we have the rules is because we care about freedom.  That doesn't
suddenly end when a program runs on a different server.

Consider the following: unrar-nonfree contains some software which is non-free
and can therefore not be in main.  The reason we don't put it in main is that
we want users who care about freedom to not even see this software.  Agreed?

Now what would be the result of moving this non-free part to a network server?
In terms of freedom there are no benefits to this.  The user is still using the
non-free software, but now they can also be tracked by the server admin, and
they can't use a debugger to hack it, should they want to.  So it is 100% bad
for them.

However, according to your logic, because it is no longer running on your own
cpu, this change would allow unrar-nonfree to go into main.  You do agree that
this is not a sensible result of making software worse, right?

> > I think they are equivalent; server software is still software and I
> > don't see why it running remotely suddenly makes it acceptable to
> > depend on it.
> You appear to be using “depend” here to mean “without this the program
> *is not useful*”.

Most programs in contrib can build and run without non-free software.  They
will just immediately produce an error message.  Our users would describe that
as depending on the non-free software.

> The language in Policy §2.2 does not relate to any program's purpose at
> all.

What do you think the purpose of policy is, if not to ensure that our software
gives freedom to our users?


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