Re: [gNewSense-users] Suitability of the Debian Squeeze (and later) Linux kernel for gNewSense. Was (no subject)
On Mon, Apr 04, 2011 at 09:51:16PM +0930, Karl Goetz wrote:
> On Thu, 31 Mar 2011 20:52:39 +0100
> Michael Dorrington <email@example.com> wrote:
> > AFAICT, the Debian kernel complies with the DFSG (or is extremely
> > close). However, it retains drivers that require a firmware in order
> > to be functional and where no free firmware currently exists for
> > them. So if you don't considered Debian to be a "Free GNU/Linux
> > distribution" then, I think, you won't considered the Debian kernel
> > to be suitable for gNewSense.
> Does this mean 'retained in tree', or is it the stuff with no free
> firmware in the non-free packages?
Practically all modern peripherals run firmware, usually loaded from
EEPROM or flash, and almost always non-free. So the question is not
whether a driver relies on non-free firmware but whether that firmware
is required to be installed in the host filesystem and loaded via the
The drivers included in upstream kernel releases that load non-free
firmware are retained as part of the linux-2.6 source package and most
of them are included in the binary packages. (Some are excluded due
to quality considerations or because they rely on firmware embedded
within the driver, which we remove.) If we were to package these
drivers separately, they would belong in the 'contrib' archive section
(free software with non-free or unpackaged dependencies). Since we do
not, and since the kernel in general does not have non-free
dependencies, these drivers remain in the 'main' archive section.
We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.
- Albert Camus