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Re: New summary: Binary peripheral software

On Sun, Apr 04, 2004 at 10:08:06PM +1000, Herbert Xu wrote:
> My order of preference for how this should be resolved are as follows:
> 1. Move all kernel packages to non-free.
> This pays homage both to our commitment to free software as well as
> our users' needs.
> Moving only the drivers affected to non-free is beyond my capacity.
> Someone else will have to invest the time and energy to create such
> a package and keep it up-to-date.
> Unfortunately I fear that this is too politically incorrect to be
> viable.  I'd love to be proven wrong though.

It might be interesting to try a straw poll to see what people think.
This would actually be my preference...

> 3. Delete the affected drivers as they're reported.  Stop supporting
> any drivers that contain binary firmware that may get them removed
> should someone report them.
> Although this will inconvenience many of our users, this is the only
> course of action that I find to be viable at this point in time.

Earlier you mentioned removing drivers including the Broadcom tg3;
this is a fairly popular driver, so it really will inconvenience a
**lot** of users.  Before we do this, it might be wise to determine a
rough estimate of how many new systems (those being commonly sold
today; yes, this is hard to figure out) and how many existing systems
would be unable to function properly with the affected drivers yanked

I would also suggest that in the preinst script, the kernel check to
see if the currently running kernel is using a driver that is going to
disappear once the user installs the new kernel.  Otherwise, it will
be very unpleasant for users who install the new kernel, only to find
that there system has lots its network driver, or some other driver
that makes the system otherwise unusable.  The user should ideally be
warned before the new kernel is installed.

It might also be wise to contemplate what our users might think of
Debian when Red Hat, SuSE, Gentoo, Mandrake, etc. will install just
fine on some large percentage of systems, but Debian will not install
out of the box.  What does that do Debian's reputation as a useful
distribution?  Do we care if these users decide to leave for other
distributions?  How do we reconcile the requirement in the Social
Contract of meeting the needs of our users with the need to be
concerned about Free Software?

Given that the Social Contract already explicitly states the use of
the non-free section as the compromise between the needs of our users
and the need to clearly label which software is DFSG-free and which
are not, I personally think that moving all kernel packages to
non-free (and then continuing to support non-free, per the results of
the most recent GR) makes the most amount of sense.

						- Ted

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