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Re: non-free firmware and d-i

Joey Hess wrote:

> Wouter Verhelst wrote:
>> Since the most central point of disagreement seems to be around the need
>> to support non-free firmware from the installation (whether by doing
>> that through supporting the non-free repository, or by just dropping
>> these firmware blobs in main, or whatnot), I'm trying to understand what
>> is going on. Problem is, I don't see what the issues are, since I'm not
>> /that/ comfortable with d-i development. Is there a detailed explanation
>> somewhere?
> Did you see my post on -vote about it? <20060823181559.GA1093@kitenet.net>
>> I'll call "customization disks" for the time being: a low-priority d-i
>> menu item (on the same level as the "start a shell" option) which, when
>> activated, allows the user to load additional udebs from a floppy disk,
>> a usb key, a CD-ROM disk, or whatever.
> d-i already supports driver disks, see floppy-retriever and the code in
> hw-detect to prompt for a driver floppy if necessary hardware is not
> detected.

And apparently net-retriever handles this correctly too.

> Even extending this to support USB and CDs does not cover all cases,

But should be done.  :-)  Is this not supported yet?

> my  
> outline in the post above includes some points where this approach will
> fail.

If the machine needs firmware in order to load the installation media under
Linux, this cannot be solved except by making a non-free installer image.
It is a theoretical impossibility, because in this case the firmware must
be loaded by something outside the installer proper.  In fact, in most
cases the only things loaded in this form are the kernel and the initramfs
(loaded by the BIOS) and so to deal with this case the firmware must be
included in one of them.  (In the initramfs case with loadable firmware
this further means that udev must run in the initramfs, which is not

So just *forget* that case, since it's not solvable.  If there exists a form
of installation media which does *not* need firmware loaded in order for
Linux to use it, then put the firmware on that media, load it, and

Consider this case: the solvable case.  What actual problems can you 
identify with this case?  It appears to be 90% implemented.  I see *no* 
places where this approach will fail, excepting the impossible case, and
you haven't identified any such places either.  Your outline includes no
points where it will fail except the impossible case: I counted.  :-)

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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