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Re: New summary: Binary peripheral software

On Sun, Apr 04, 2004 at 10:57:11PM -0400, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> > 1. Move all kernel packages to non-free.
> It might be interesting to try a straw poll to see what people think.
> This would actually be my preference...

Well if someone wants to take a poll go right ahead.

However, you should also consult the FTP masters' opinion as unless
they allow the package to make the transition this is all pointless.

> 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

I know, but nobody seems to be too bothered to do anything about it.

> 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
> out.

Perhaps the debian-installer team can provide some figures/anecdotes
about tg3 usage?

> 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.

I don't believe this is too serious as the way the kernel package is
organised in Debian means that it will never overwrite the running
kernel so you can always boot back into it.  In fact, it even tries
to prevent you from removing the running kernel so you'll have to
reboot into a new kernel before removing the working one.

This plus the fact that I dislike installation notes in general
means that I won't be putting anything in preinst for this.

> 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?

These are all very good questions, but I doubt you'll find any
consensus amongst the Debian developers as to their answers.

> 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.

I agree completely.  But I doubt that it'll be practical unless we get
some clear agreements from the FTP admin and debian-installer teams.
Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 is out! ( http://www.debian.org/ )
Email:  Herbert Xu ~{PmV>HI~} <herbert@gondor.apana.org.au>
Home Page: http://gondor.apana.org.au/~herbert/
PGP Key: http://gondor.apana.org.au/~herbert/pubkey.txt

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