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Re: more evil firmwares found

Martin Loschwitz wrote:

> On Mon, Apr 12, 2004 at 08:26:39PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
>> 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).
> There are many other cases where this can happen. The tigon3-driver for
> example needs a firmware file to work -- and tigon3 boards are _common_
> nowadays as they are sold with all those mainboard which have GBit LAN
> onboard (mainly broadcom bcm5700 cards). Also some WLAN-Cards like the
> prism54-chipsets need a firmware file. And it's well possible that some
> user out there would like to install a debian system via such a prism54
> card.
>> > 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.
> You must be one of those who yelled at non-free and collapsed when they
> saw the outcome of the GR ...
Nope.  Go ahead, make non-free software available.  I use some myself.

DON'T claim that it's free software.  That's what you're doing if you ship
it in 'main'.  And it's a deliberate lie.

> Well, okay. We are Debian, not Richard M.
> Stallman inc. and although one of our main interests is to aid FOSS, we
> also have users whose needs we need to obey. Don't believe that this "
> We have open source drivers but closed source firmware" thingie is only
> relevant for some exotic hardware; infact, it will become more and more
> popular. And keep in mind that today, hardly any computer will work
> completely without non-free software (or do _you_ have the source for
> your mainboard's BIOS?).
Not software; I can't change it at all.  :-P

>> > 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 else.
> I have no idea who John Hasler is; if you like to, please introduce me to
> him once the three of us meet. You do not get the dimension of the
> problem. If somebody switches to RedHat or SuSE because we do not provide
> netscape or some such, he does that because he was not satisfied with what
> Debian gave him *after* he tried it. If he can not even install Debian and
> thus switches to SuSE or RedHat, we did something wrong because we kept
> him away from testing Debian and enjoy it with all its free software.
These aren't substantially different.

> This, by the way, will slowly lead to Debian becoming less and less
> popular ...
Popularity or principles; your choice.  I know which I'd choose.

>> > 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 non-free?
> You should stop to try to interprete the sentences I wrote myself for me;
> you repeatedly failed terribly.
That was sarcasm.

> Indeed the Social Contract has a loophole
> here; if we keep out non-free firmware files for hardware, in future this
> will lead to less and less people using Debian. And without users, the
> Social contract can be put into a trashcan anyway.
You'll have users (like, oh, say, ME); you can decide whether to put the
Social Contract in the trashcan in *fear* of losing users, or whether to at
least *try* to follow it.

> We have the choce:
> insist on not violating the Social Contract (for which it is too late
> already as people repeatedly pointed out only in this thread) or find
> a sensible solution that does not only fulfill §1 of SC while completely
> ignoring the first part of §4.
Not completely ignoring; ignoring *some* users, at *worst*.
So, you can use your "sensible" solution, which violates section 1 and the
second half of section 4, in favor of the first half of section 4 -- or you
can choose a solution which satisfies section 1, the second half of section
4, and the first half of section 4 for *some* users but not others.  Which
sounds more justified by the text of the Social Contract?

>> 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.
> No Sir, they can _not_ install their own kernel without even having
> installed a base system.
Which they can do without any of these non-free drivers.

> No need to yell; I get your point anyway.
No, you don't.

>> It is not Debian's mission to ship anything and everything users "need"
>> regardless of whether it's free software.
> If a large majority _needs_ something in order to being able to only
Prove that it's a large majority.  I simply don't believe it.

> _install_ Debian then indeed it _is_ our duty to ship it because
To install Debian from a full CD set:
* you don't need *any* network hardware
* you don't need any graphics drivers
* you probably don't need USB support
* you do need IDE and/or SCSI support (depending)
* you do need hard disk and floppy disk driver support
* you do need CD-ROM driver support

I simply don't believe that there's anywhere *near* a majority of users who
actually *need* any of this non-free peripheral software to install Debian. 
If you think there are, you should give an actual example.  NOBODY has
given one.  Count the examples: Zero.  Zero zero zero.  (There are people
who need non-free *boot sectors* to install -- or use -- Debian at the

So, factually, it's simply a matter of convenience (a great difference in
convenience, perhaps) and providing useful non-free programs.  Debian has
dealt with that situation before -- *not* in the way you suggest.

> everything else would massively violate SC §4.

I notice you didn't respond to my questions regarding your views on Netscape
(prior to Mozilla's availability) and the NVIDIA drivers; those were just
as popular and needed, at the appropriate time, as any of these non-free
hunks of firmware.  So did you support their inclusion in main?  If so,
you're consistent.

Make sure your vote will count.

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