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Pulling free firmware-ath9k-htc into the CD images


I'm not subscribed, please CC me. Also I've already sent a mail like this one 
to the kernel list; I hope this is the right place (as an outsider I don't 
know if I need to be reaching the d-i team instead).

I'm adopting the firmware-ath9k-htc package, which has been FTBFS for a while 
but I've already found a sponsor (Paul Wise) and expect my fixes will be 
uploaded shortly [1].

These are some of the flagship chipsets for free wireless adapters, and 
although it's good that the firmware gets built from source in a separate 
package, until now it's been segregated from the installer and Debian 
installations. I've sent a MR for the latter [2], so I'd like to know how to 
best tackle the former.

I think I can build a udeb of my package before the freeze, but I wasn't sure 
if it would be easiest for you to do something else, such as copy the firmware 
into your udeb. I'm not familiar at all with the firmware/d-i aspects of the 
kernel packages, which doesn't appear well documented to me in code comments 
or the manual, but I'm willing to put in the work to make Debian more usable 
with free software and hardware.

One hiccup though is that the firmware is included in firmware-nonfree; to avoid 
a filename clash I rename mine to 'htc_*-1.dev.0.fw' and set the kernel option 
to use the "development" firmware. This option would probably need to be set 
outright, or else the module needs to be reloaded. If it's appropriate, I'd be 
good to do a migration where it can be removed from firmware-nonfree and 
firmware-ath9k-htc can take back the file name.

I would appreciate your advice on how I can proceed.


P.S. The reporter of [3] pointed out that, even if we're not building it from 
source, some of the firmware may be GPL and the Debian source packages do not 
ship the source code. Although I understand how meritocracy works, this does 
seem like a very serious problem which I'd like to mention in case you haven't 

[1] https://mentors.debian.net/package/open-ath9k-htc-firmware/
[2] https://salsa.debian.org/kernel-team/firmware-free/-/merge_requests/1
[3] https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=890601#15

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