Re: Dealing with drivers that need firmware on the filesystem
On Sun, Jan 09, 2005 at 02:36:03AM +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> It's becomingly increasingly common for hardware to require firmware to
> be loaded by the device driver on boot, rather than containing it in
> ROM. This is unfortunate, because in most cases the firmware is
> non-free. As a result, a naive application of policy suggests that
> drivers which require this firmware should appear in contrib.
Apart from the practical implications and organisation of a
"work-around", I would like to understand exactly the problem. I
don't feel that I have a fully clear understanding of the actual
main motivation for not allowing these non-free firmware in main.
I see 2 possible motivations (and maybe there are much more):
* all code (and thus also driver code) needs to be DFSG-free, for the
purpose of allowing study, modfication, unlimited distribution, ...
While this seems an obvious reasoning, I have the impression from
the debate that we are _not_ aiming at fundamentally replacing this
non-free firmware with free firmware which would allow study,
modification, .... We are merely looking at practical ways to continue
to supply this non-free firmware to the users, but in a way that is
not violation the DFSG.
I don't feel fully at ease with the policy of banning all non-free
firmware or even drivers that would need to load non-free firmware,
if the ultimate goal is not to promote and replace them by free
* we are trying to avoid by all means the very painfull situation where
the free distribution of Debian main as a whole is blocked by some
legal dispute over distribution of firmware in disrespect of the
license that was placed on it by the Copyright holder of that code.
This seems a very important reason to avoid any and all non-free
code in main. But if the license from the Copyright holder of the
non-free firmware allows unmodified binary distribution, then this
argument is not immediately applicable.
I don't have a position yet, first trying to understand exactly the