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Re: more evil firmwares found

Nathanael Nerode wrote:

>Most people do not care whether their software is free or not.  Debian does.

Failing to provide non-Free firmware in Debian will not reduce the
quantity of firmware in the world. The hardware that is currently
available will, in the overwhelmingly vast majority of cases, either
contain firmware in ROM or have it downloaded on initialisation. If
Debian is willing to provide the firmware, we can support all of that
hardware. If Debian is not willing to provide the firmware, we can
support only that hardware that has the (generally non-Free) firmware in
ROM. So, by not shipping the firmware, we don't reduce the number of
people using non-Free firmware - on the other hand, we do reduce the
number of people using Debian. That doesn't seem like a major win.

On the other hand, I don't believe it belongs in main. We've made a
commitment to providing only Free software in main, and having a maze of
twisty special-case exemptions wouldn't improve anybody's life. The
right thing to do is probably to find some way of clearly providing
software that says "This is not Free software, but we do not believe
that its non-Freeness impacts upon you in any desperately significant
way". But given that we're happy to provide GFDLed material in Sarge,
and that has a somewhat greater impact on useful freedom than this
firmware does, I think it's something we should leave until Sarge+1.
We're already compromising our principles, so we should get the damn
release out so we can think about how we can avoid doing so in future.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.devel@srcf.ucam.org

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