I think that we forgot this when we made the last set of “editorial changes” to the DFSG. We remembered a bit with the general resolution postponing the changes until after the release of sarge… now sarge is getting close and we’re going to face the problems that we created.
I hear more and more Debian developers who are disappointed by this move, some are leaving, others are considering to leave. I’m too attached to Debian to be able to leave, I’d rather make Debian change again because I also think we have made the wrong choice.
We have many derived distributions which enhances Debian in a way or in another, we shouldn’t make their life more complicated by making changes that they will have to undo just to have a working system.
Even forgetting about the derived distros (which are an important part of Debian IMO), our users deserve a working system right after the installation. We have two solutions: either change our policy so that apt-get points to non-free by default and let packages from main depend on packages from non-free so that the required bits of non-free can be automatically installed, or change again our rules so that we can keep those essential bits were it makes sense (in main directly).
The first solution makes no sense because of the nature of non-free: we have so many different licenses of packages in non-free that it’s difficult to know which packages can be distributed. So the only real solution is to stay in the old situation: apply DFSG to the software only and keep useful things in main until a free replacement is available.
Feedback is welcome… because the only way to make this change happen is to propose a new general resolution.