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

Humberto Massa wrote:

> Yes, and the topic: should we forget what is "software"? 
Software: That which isn't hardware.
Or, information, in a format which can be duplicated, 'living' on a physical
medium but not tied to that medium.
For example, a sequence of bits.

The newfangled usage to mean "program" is a degenerate usage, presumably
brought about when people had trouble with the rather subtle abstract
concept which the proper definition uses.

This is an *old* argument.  This is why Andrew Suffield's proposed changes
to the Social Contract eliminate the use of the contentious word

>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"?
We debated that already, somewhere, didn't we?  :-)

> 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:
> QUOTE #1
> **1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software*
> *No, it's not, it will not.
See, this partly depends on the definition you're using for software.  If
you use the old, broader definition, then the Debian distribution is 100%

> 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:

You perhaps should vote for Andrew's resolution, eh?

> 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>"

Yeah, this has been suggested a dozen times.  Except nobody has proposed a
specific set of distinct rules for different classes of works which both
differs from the DFSG significantly, and appears to have significant
support.  Please do so!  :-)

There were long discussions about this, and nearly every time someone said
"You don't need this DFSG freedom for X," somebody else said, "Well I do
and I think it's just as important as for software, and here's why!" 
Sometimes it was even the same person.

The only area where people seem generally comfortable making an exception to
the DFSG rules is legal texts in certain contexts.  Even that's only
because the very small, strictly limited unmodifiable hunks of text in
certain licenses seem like a small price to pay for the really, really
large amount of stuff under those licenses.

> (maybe refactored)
> As you can see, this last case will even make room for the e2fsprogs
> "ext2fs image files".
> QUOTE #2
> **4. Our Priorities are Our Users and Free Software**
> This stays as is... And is *far* better served by separating software
> from non-software.
Hmm.  Emphasizing the lack of interest in non-programs.  An interesting

> 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.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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