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Re: more evil firmwares found

Martin Loschwitz wrote:

> 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.
May I repeat that I have two fairly new computers in this house which do not
require non-free "firmware" downloads?  There are hardware alternatives
which don't require the "firmware" downloading for nearly *all* of this
stuff; the best example Marco could come up with was DVB boards, which is a
fairly obscure and inessential area which until recently wasn't supported
by Linux at all.  People claimed DSL modems, but turned out to be wrong
(there are black-box ethernet-bridge implementations).

> 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 ...
"Debian will Remain 100% Free Software".  Article *1* of the Social
Contract, which comes *first*.  Also, "Our Priorities are Our Users *and
Free Software*".  Distributing non-free software in main may help some
users -- I think most people will agree that it does *not* help the cause
of Free Software.

> 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.
To paraphrase John Hasler's reductio ad absurdum argument:

The choices are quite easy: Put everything we have the ability to distribute
(Netscape, PovRay, etc.) in main, and make users who care about those
things willing to use Debian, and therefore able to benefit from it, or
throw non-free stuff out and send the users to SuSE, RedHat or something

> 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.
Of course, in order to achieve the Social Contract, you have no choice other
than removing those non-free things from "main", because "Debian will
remain 100% Free Software".  (One alternative is to amend the Social
Contract, or otherwise pass a GR delineating exceptions to it.)  So I
assume you want to move the kernel to non-free, and because the rest of the
software in Debian requires a kernel, you want to move *all* of Debian to

Or maybe you just want to ignore or misinterpret the sentence
"Debian will remain 100% Free Software".  That means "nothing but Free
Software", by the way.

>> 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.
If they want them, they can get them by installing their own upstream
kernel.  They're *NOT FREE SOFTWARE*.  It is not Debian's mission to ship
anything and everything users "need" regardless of whether it's free
software.  (Incidentally, "need" really means "want" here; after all,
nobody "needs" a computer!)  If non-free "firmware" software is allowed
into Debian *without* a GR, you might as well introduce packages containing
non-free software for other interesting "peripheral devices" such as m68k
and i386 machines.

Make sure your vote will count.

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