I think this is a pretty significant development, so I'm going to repeat my comments from the LIRC thread about this development and then everyone can comment about what they think this implies as far as using Debian for an HTPC in the future:
... Debian is currently working on stripping out all the "non-free" code from their distro in order to become an FSF certified "free" distro.
This means no binary blobs at all provided by Debian, not even in a separate repo like the current case. So no libdvdcss, no mp3, no mpeg2, no h264, no flash, no win32codec, no broadcom drivers, no Nvidea drivers, no ATI drivers, no firmware blobs that are needed by a bunch of the Tuner devices.
I think it's going to become a massive PITA to try to build a HTPC directly on top of Debian in the near future. To maintain your sanity, you'll probably want to build on top of Ubuntu or Mint who will hopefully add all the non-free stuff back in to their distros.
If Linus pisses off nVidia, they could stop making Linux drivers for their cards. Then what the stupid Debian devs do will be of little meaning, because we will have to use Windows or Mac to make a HTPC.
The only one I recognize is Trisquel only because I listen to Jonathan Nadeau's podcast and he's talked about working with them to make certain that their installation process is accessible to vision-impaired users.
These kinds of religious changes (as opposed to those required by technology), are the very reason that I stopped using Debian/Ubuntu based distributions and the constant churn they force on users. It's gotten worse than what Microsoft does to its users.
My recommendation is to head elsewhere. I've since moved to Arch, I've been there for more than a year, and no longer get put through the meat grinder just to keep my system on this year's software.