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Re: more evil firmwares found

On Mon, Apr 12, 2004 at 03:54:21PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Scripsit Norbert Tretkowski <tretkowski@inittab.de>
> > * Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> > > Most people do not care whether their software is free or not.
> > > Debian does.
> > Thus Debian shouldn't run on hardware which requires non-free binary
> > firmware?
> False. We have nothing against people running non-free software on
> their machines, and we explicitly pledge to support those people.
May I remind you of the social contract, article 4? "Our Priorities are Our
Users and Free Software" is what it says. Actually, if we remove all those
drivers from kernel which need binary firmware files, it is probable that
outta there, many users won't be able to install Debian because the driver
for their IDE-Controller/NIC/Whatsoever is not available but they need it
to do virtually anything with their computer. In the end, the user has to
install some other distribution and has no chance for Debian at all. _If
*this*_ is what you call "Our Priorities are Our Users", there's a strong
disagreement between the two of us ...

The choices are quite easy: Keep those drivers in kernel and make users
able to install Debian so that they *can* benefit from Debian or throw
the drivers out and send the users to SuSE, RedHat or something else.

As member of the Debian Desktop Subproject, it is my strong believe that
in order to achieve the social contract, we do not have a choice other
than keeping all those drivers in the kernel. Besides, this discussion
raises another question for me: Is it good to have virtually any kernel
packages maintained by one person or wouldn't group maintainership help
to avoid ricochet like this?

> What we should not do is distribute the non-free firmware in the
> archive where we promise not to distribute non-free software.
What we should not do is to punish users for wanting to use Debian with
throwing drivers they *need* away.

> -- 
> Henning Makholm                   "The great secret, known to internists and
>                          learned early in marriage by internists' wives, but
>                still hidden from the general public, is that most things get
>          better by themselves. Most things, in fact, are better by morning."
> -- 
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  .''`.   Martin Loschwitz           Debian GNU/Linux developer
 : :'  :  madkiss@madkiss.org        madkiss@debian.org
 `. `'`   http://www.madkiss.org/    people.debian.org/~madkiss/
   `-     Use Debian GNU/Linux 3.0!  See http://www.debian.org/

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