[linux-elitists] [RANT] Debian the Elitist Distribution? [was Re: RFI: Recommendation for a good Vocabulary Builder]

jason jason@nefac.net
Sun Feb 15 13:43:14 PST 2004

Adam Kessel wrote:

>Because Debian is fairly big and ubiquitous, it can exert pressure on
>developers to conform by excluding packages that are not DFSG-free.
>Even though this bugs people, it's a great service.  As an individual, I
>hold little sway with a developer who has chosen a stupid made-up
>license for her package.  As a collective, Debian can use its power of
>dissemination to channel everything into a fairly standard set of
I think this foregrounds "differences of elitism" in the discussion; on 
the one hand, geek-elitism with the dependency-tracking-luddites 
advocating Slack or LFS... a sympathy I share, I have run Slack and 
rolled my own, and while I prefer those to say, Mandrake or Red Hat, I 
currently use Debian on the box I use for checking email, watching DVDs 
etc. Actually, I also run Debian on my Macs because Debian-PPC works so 
nicely.  But my main reasoning for running Debian is the political 
elements of linux-elitism: the Debian Free Software Guidelines. I don't 
just want  an "open source" OS, I want all of my software to be Free as 
in speech. If I wanted free as in beer, I could pirate XP, or if I just 
wanted the source, I could run an old version of solaris or something. 
But I believe in free software, so I run Debian because of the DFSG. I 
*could* run another distro and just apply my license bigotry personally 
and selectively, but why do that, when I can add to the number of debian 
installs, so that the pressure exerted by the DFSG is that much greater.

Saying that the DFSG 'bugs' people is a non-argument. The GPL has bugged 
far more people than the DFSG ever will... that's the POINT. The GPL is 
viral so that it can actually increase the general 'freedom' of 
software. If Debian can do the same... that's excellent.  People who try 
to make their software just "open source" father than "free" should be 
bugged. And bugged and bugged and bugged. That's the kind of elitism I'm 
a talkin' bout.


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