I feel that this morning, in the cold light of morning I ought to apologise to Joey for my previous posting. I will admit that I was sufficiently pissed off with the whole “Let’s abandon pragmatism in favour of purism” argument which I appear to have seen floating around that I lashed out at perhaps merely the most visible of the people who are in favour of dropping non-free from the archive and for that I apologise. However, the critical nub of the argument remains — There are users of Debian known to me (in fact, excluding developers, I’d say around 75% of the users known to me) who would probably consider dropping Debian in favour of a distribution more pragmatic in their approach to packaging were Debian to drop non-free. Indeed, with the news that it’s going to be hard to get non-free activated by default on Sarge installations, I’d say that we’re probably at risk of losing about a third of those people anyway. We certainly shouldn’t attempt to make the move to “non-free” not being part of Debian until we already have a working and proven replacement for it. Also, what do we do with ‘contrib’ if non-free goes away? There are plenty of contrib packages in use by my friends. Installing them would (in part) be harder without non-free. I for one would be most irritated at the loss of flashplugin-nonfree. After all, isn’t Debian really for the users? What use is a fantastically good distribution if there are people moving to other distros because they make it easier for them to get certain software packages? Either way, we’ll see how the GR comes out. I for one would be reconsidering whether Debian’s focus is correct, should a decision be made which (in my opinion) harms our users experience of the distribution.