I have recently read news about the Debian project, one of the largest and most important distribution projects of the GNU system with the Linux kernel, and in the case of Debian specifically with other kernels, being one of the “original” distributions and father of all the debian offspring and its powerful APT package system.
For a long time Debian GNU/Linux could boast of being a completely free system, which by maintaining a non-free repository earned it not to obtain the recommendation of the FSF. However as long as only the main repository was used, then you could have a free system, now with this change, Debian will start including proprietary firmware within its installation disks and will use that firmware at will.
Similarly, projects like Fredoombox, based mainly on Debian, will now include the non-free repository enabled by default.
This shows that over time the principles that are not pursued end up yielding, Debian despite being a massive institution in the development and distribution of free software and one of the largest variants of the GNU system with Linux/Hurd/etc. in the world, still maintaining a high standard of ethics and social commitment to its users, is losing traction on the principles that once put it above the vast majority of distributions ethically and technologically.
I wonder if this is the first step in a spiral that is forcing decisions related to the path Debian will take, just as Firefox has fallen by integrating more and more anti-features, gradually diluting the last drops of “Free Software” and falling completely into the rhetoric of Open Source seeking to retain a share of users compared to other browsers.
It seems to me that Canonical could bear a bit of responsibility for this change, since Debian is used as the seedbed for Ubuntu distributions, and having developers vote on Debian development is a good thing for Canonical, I could be wrong, or maybe not.
Regardless of the above, I believe that this is a clear indicator of the continuous ethical and social erosion in the face of technology, of the culture of consumerism as well as of the “success at all costs” promoted around the world, where the interests of a few can overcome the well-being of the many, in the same way the lack of recognition of the truly important things in the world.
A quick exercise, in the following situation,
If you were granted access to an all you can eat buffet, hypothetically with all the healthiest salads in the world, the best vegetables, as well as the best cuts of most succulently prepared meats from the world’s most exotic regions, all kinds of fruit waters, soft drinks/sodas and alcoholic beverages as well from anywhere in the world unlimited.
The questions that this situation generates could be,
- Would that be a nourishing experience for your body? Or would we end up hurting one self?
- would we have touched the salad table?
- come on, would we get out walking?
I don’t buy the lies that any negative result is “human nature”, that’s complacency and mediocrity speaking.
Deep down, when everything stops, we know what is best for us, what suits us as the complex organism that we are, and although we can make mistakes, it is important to see the long term and teach us to make the best decisions for us, as individuals and eventually as a collective.
The principles and ethical discussion that the Free Software movement promotes could be far ahead of the social reality in our regions, cities, prefectures, states, departments, even countries, but if it is in your hands, talk about Free Software, put the weight of freedom over functionality, since the latter can eventually be resolved as long as the former is present,
Choose more lettuce over meat, take care of yourself and others in the process.
I could not condemn the Debian project for these changes, it seems sad to me that this happens and I hope that better times will come for the project, where they can recover the shine of the principles that they defended for many years.
I would like to conclude by citing the campaign Be Free! of the FSFLA that I consider is very ad hoc,
The more people resist,
the more people will be Free, and
the more people will be free to be Free.
For your own good, and
in solidarity to all,