non-free vs. free packages

Patrik Gräser hittis at
Tue Oct 18 10:28:41 UTC 2005


This is written with (IMHO) inserted everywhere. I'm not trying to force
my view on anyone. I have enjoyed working with, and using, Lunar-linux and
part of that is that we don't have religious wars about licensing matters
(except for the odd irc-fight ;) . I like to talk about "how to make the
Lunar experience better for users?" not "how do we force our views on our

First of. Installing non-free software is not the issue. Neither is the
package-maintanence systems ability to handle non-free software. The issue
is (AFAICS) wether or not to include access to non-free and closed source
software through modules in moonbase.

Myself, I would say "No non-free" but... Drop all non-free and binary from
moonbase. This would mean that essential hardware support gets lost and it
would mean that software containing firmware can't be used either (or
would it?)...

This sounds ridiculous.

Splitting non-free from the moonbase has been mentioned previously but (If
I remember correctly) in the context of a subdirectory/section in

I would go even further and split the current moonbase into multiple
modulecollections(the names are fictitious and used only for simplicity):

Moonbase. FOSS software with sources freely available.
Asteroid. Free-to-use software with binary-only or sources available.
Comet. Proprietary non-free software or software that needs user
interaction to download.
Houston. Modules upp for testing (Just read Zbigniews mail, thanks...)
before inclusion in "official" collections.

If the lunar tools were rewritten to support multiple modulecollections
then I think it would simplify for enterprises to support their own

The available collections could be stored in a file (collections.conf in
the form "<collection-name>\t<collection-URL>\t<collection-description>
perhaps) and it would then be trivial to add/remove collections to Lunar.
Perhaps a switch for lin/lvu could be used (-mc <collection>)?

I have been pondering how to support Ciscos VPN-client in Lunar and with
the above I could do it.

This would require a lot of work (I think) but I believe it would simplify
for the future. But what to do in the interim?

Well... I don't realy know. We have non-free software in Moonbase right
now... Perhaps a section called non-free that later gets moved to a new

Am I barking up the wrong tree (or perhaps no tree at all)? Perhaps...
Just my two cents worth :)

Patrik G.

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