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Re: Debian on Pine64 H64B?

On 2021-09-09, Pete Batard wrote:
> Okay, maybe I didn't express myself properly here, because we're 
> basically on the same page. I am not saying that where possible, Debian 
> should not care about providing what you suggest. I'm only saying that, 
> *WHEN* that is not possible, as is the case on x86 PC and on Pi, Debian 
> should be flexible enough to understand that taking a hard stance so as 
> to penalize users, and declaring "Thou shall not boot this platform with 
> Debian"

I think I missed that decree...  I daresay, this argument has been
running around in circles, based on some false assertions...

For the majority of the lifespan of arm64 in Debian, the *only* boot
method supported by debian-installer was UEFI. A "Bring your own
firmware" sort of policy. Only very recently support for a handful of
platforms to boot using u-boot was added...

And while *technically* non-free isn't a part of Debian, the firmware
required to boot raspberry pi platforms has been in non-free for some
years now. The great compromise in the Debian social contract allows for
exactly this sort of scenario:


  5. Works that do not meet our free software standards

  We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of works that do
  not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have created
  "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our archive for these works.

So, the whole idea that supporting booting Debian on the raspberry pi is
not allowed seems absurd to me.

Yes, there are non-free parts required to boot it. Debian cannot ship
those parts in Debian main. Some people choose to spend their time
making those parts easier for others to install, some choose to keep
their distanceand not get entangled in it. We have room for both

I'm really greateful people went through the work to get UEFI support
for the Raspberry Pi working; it gives yet another option for people who
want to try that platform on Debian using the standard Debian arm64
installation media. It's a widely used platform and if some people want
to install Debian on it, great!

I am also really happy Debian can support platforms (e.g. pinebook) that
can boot with boot firmware entirely only using software from Debian
"main", without needing "non-free" or "contrib".

In Debian, those who do the work generally define what is and isn't
supported in Debian, with guiding documents like the social contract and
debian policy setting some boundaries and standards.

So, pick something you want to improve, and work on it, and share it
with the rest of us! :)

live well,

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