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Re: Debian Stretch new user report (vs Linux Mint)

On Fri, 01 Dec 2017 at 13:15:04 +0100, Arturo Borrero Gonzalez wrote:
> But this is something that we have already detected: our main website
> needs work.
> We just need someone doing the work.

I don't think that's the only (or even the main) issue here. This new user
was able to find an ISO from which to install, so to at least that extent,
the website is working; but because Debian as a project is unwilling
to recommend an installer that contains any non-free software, they
didn't get the "officially unofficial" ISO with the necessary firmware
to make various bits of mainstream hardware work, which is the one that
many Debian developers would have recommended to this user if asked
as individuals.

If a helpful volunteer adjusted the Debian website to make the most
prominently-advertised installer image the one that contains non-free
firmware, or even to advertise that installer image on the main Debian
website at all, I suspect the most likely result would be a revert
followed by a flamewar. (I'd be happy to be proved wrong, because
as much as I'd like to be recommending the official, 100% Free
installer image, I think that's doing a disservice to our users.)

Our priorities are our users and free software, and this is one of the
unfortunate situations where the two priorities conflict. If it's really
that important to us to keep Debian (and in particular its official
install media) 100% Free Software, then the price we pay is that we
can't claim that it works as well on generic mainstream hardware as
a more pragmatic distro like Ubuntu or Fedora; and we certainly don't
get to claim we're surprised when new users use the install media we
officially recommend, rather than the unofficial install media built
on Debian infrastructure that we use ourselves, but officially don't
recommend for political reasons.

(See also many previous discussions about firmware, and in particular
<https://www.debian.org/vote/2008/vote_003> and