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Re: New summary: Binary peripheral software

John Hasler writes:

> Michael Poole writes:
>> After all, the point of software freedom is to let the user make useful
>> changes (by the user's definition of useful, and nobody else's) to the
>            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> software he uses.
> I wrote:
>> I don't see how it can do otherwise.
> Michael Poole writes:
>> The only restriction is that you cannot reprogram the hardware -- which
>> is remarkably similar to the limitation you would face if they used a
>> (EEP)ROM to hold the firmware.
> Debian does not distribute ROMS, so their contents are none of our concern.
>> In what ways do you think the user's freedom to enhance their software
>> is impaired?
> The user cannot reprogram the hardware.

This is sophistry: the capabilities for the user are identical, and
the device driver is inextricably bound to the firmware, in each
situation.  You simply employ sleight-of-hand to avoid taking
responsibility.  You might argue that Debian should not distribute the
combined package, but you have not shown why the GPL would not apply.

If this kind of logic is par for the course, I expect the next step
will be to propose removal of all documentation and other
non-executable packages because they are not software -- after all,
Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software.

At a minimum, I expect that the kernel packages will have to be moved
to non-free until all firmware or undocumented bit accesses are
removed from upstream distribution.

Michael Poole

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