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

Jonathan Dowland <jmtd@xxxxxxxxxx> writes:

> On Sun, Dec 03, 2017 at 09:17:59PM +0100, Thomas Goirand wrote:
> >I at least, and probably a lot of Debian contributors, would start
> >hating Debian for promoting hardware that needs non-free drivers if
> >the non-free ISO was the default one.
> Are we promoting hardware that *doesn't* require non-free firmware
> (not drivers, there is an important distinction) at the moment?

I don't know what is meant (in either message) by “promoting hardware”.
What does an assertion of “yes, we promote such-and-so hardware” imply?

The implication that seems most sensible – we promote hardware to the
extent that we produce the Debian operating system supporting it – would
mean, AFAICT, that the Debian Project does not promote hardware that
needs non-free drivers (because the Debian system does not provide such
non-free drivers); and the Debian Project promotes hardware that doesn't
require non-free firmware (because the Debian system by default needs no
extra drivers for that hardware).

> I don't think so. Where are we prominently explaining the problem?
> Where are the links to the unencumbered hardware that people
> could/should be using instead?

This rhetorical question suggests that it's not the place of the Debian
Project to promote specific hardware. I agree with that.

On the other hand, we recognise, and can certainly draw attention to,
hardware that works with entirely free software; and we can refuse to
lend our effort to any reduction of software freedom for our users.

> Are *you* using non-free firmware?

The machines sold by, for example, ThinkPenguin, work with the latest
Debian release, without non-free software. There's one example, which
responds to the rhetoric of that question.

That distinction – there is hardware which works with entirely free
software, and we work to keep it so – is one of the most valuable things
the Debian Project does, and is why I work for the Debian Project.

There are, of course, hardware vendors that expend a lot of effort in
opposition to that goal. That does not justify the Debian Project
retreating from that goal.

> I can understand the discomfort of grasping this nettle.

Likewise, the nettle of pressing for increased software freedom is
difficult to grasp, but IMO core to the Debian Project.

> But are you completely closed to the idea of revisiting our core value
> documents at all? The Social Contract and DFSG were written a long
> time ago. Should the project not be open to looking at what our
> collective values are today, or are we beholden to the terms layed
> down by braver people, all those years ago?

Any idea is open to examination, I'd say. But this thread has not
presented any salient reason to retreat from the core values of the
project. Indeed, the facts presented in this thread cast into sharp
relief the urgency of recognising and pressing for software freedom.

 \      “I have a large seashell collection, which I keep scattered on |
  `\    the beaches all over the world. Maybe you've seen it.” —Steven |
_o__)                                                           Wright |
Ben Finney