[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: firmware is just data. we need to decide our rules for data.

@ 15/04/2004 10:21 : wrote John Hasler :

 Erich Schubert wrote:

> If nobody has the source any more, this is a free as it can get.

 Wouter Verhelst writes:

> Yes, but that does in no way mean "it is free".

 I think it may be reasonable to distinguish between "Someone has the
 source but won't let us have it" and "The source no longer exists".

> Yes, but that does in no way mean "it is free". If there would be a
> law that would say you're not allowed travel outside the city
> where you live, then moving from one edge to the city to the other
> is as free as you can get, but that wouldn't mean you would be free
> to move around, would it?

 No, but what if your city is on an island and you are restricted to
 moving from one edge to the other by your lack of a boat?

> We have a clear definition of what "Free Software" means to us;
> it's called the "DFSG". Let's not abandon that important definition
> for the practical annoyance of the day, no matter how much
> troubles it causes us.

 Let's also not lose track of the fact that our primary concern is
 with deliberate efforts to prevent modification.

Yes, and the topic: should we forget what is "software"? In another thread (maybe in -legal) somebody asked me if I considered VHDL/FPGA definitions different from the software ... as in different from the software in the OS? in Debian? Hell yes. I consider them two different beasts.

I think Erich's question is of higher importance: "what is software"? And I think Debian should be debaters before being hackers in this question. More so, because it seems that it will, starting at sarge+1, to yank non-free /documentation/, and now, non-free, but redistributable /firmware/.

So, let's see the relevant quotes from the Social Contract:


**1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software*

*No, it's not, it will not. As of today, numbers bogus:
Debian is 30% free software, 35% free documentation, 20% free images, 1% free firmware, 10% non-free documentation that we promise to yank soon, 1% non-free firmware that we also promise to yank ASAP, and 3% other binaries that we don't know and we did not have the time to discuss yet.

Now, if in a resolution, this gets changed, to sound more proper, maybe:

1. 100% of all the software, documentation, images, binaries, are and will remain Free (with the subtext linking to the Debian Freedom Guidelines -- yes, drop the S, because, guess -- Debian is *not* *only* *software*)

And then, let's differentiate the amounts of degrees of freedom and tools needed to assure these freedoms in the DFG - Debian Freedom Guidelines _referring_ _to_ _each_ _type_ _of_ _file_. And more, and a "fallback" case.

DFG should be something like this:

"for executable programs and scripts, <insert todays DFSG here>;
for images and movies and sounds, <insert possibility-of-modification/other-requirements here>;
for <this>, <that>;
for <this-other>, <something-other>;
for any other type of binaries, Free Software tools must exist that permit their complete manipulation and modification, neither rendering any part of the binaries immutable, nor obfuscating the means to alter any part of it, nor obfuscating any part of the meaning of the binary itself; besides, the copyright license of the binary itself must permit <such and such, prolly agreeing to www.gnu.org>"

(maybe refactored)

As you can see, this last case will even make room for the e2fsprogs "ext2fs image files".


**4. Our Priorities are Our Users and Free Software**

This stays as is... And is *far* better served by separating software from non-software. Even if, in the end, we decide that non-DFSG-free documentation will be non-DFG-free documentation, non-DFSG-free firmware will be non-DFG-free firmware, etc.


Reply to: