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

On Thu, Apr 15, 2004 at 01:59:46PM -0300, Humberto Massa wrote:
> 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. 

First, this is a bad idea. It's always a bad idea to get people to focus
on doing things they're bad at at the expense of things they're good at.
We're here to make an operating system, not come up with a Grand Unified
Theory of Freedom. If we happen to decide we need to do the latter on the
way to doing the former, that's great; if we decide a simplified model,
or no model at all, is perfectly adequate for our needs, that's great too.

> **4. Our Priorities are Our Users and Free Software**
> This stays as is... And is *far* better served by separating software 
> from non-software. 

No, it's not: it's far better served by separating free software from
other things we distribute. By doing that, we make it clear how we can
improve free software: either by working on the stuff that's in main,
or by changing the way stuff in non-free or contrib is written/licensed
so that it can move into main.

We serve our users best by doing two things: the first is making it as
easy as possible for them to get at anything they need from an operating
system, however free it is or isn't; the second is making it easy for
them to choose the level of freeness they want, and to respect that
choice once it's been made -- whether that means people want to get
at nothing that's not 100% DFSG-free, whether it means they're okay
with GFDL'ed docs, little blobs of unmodifiable binary-only firmware,
non-profit only programs, or whatever. My belief is that as we start
taking a stricter interpretation of what can go in main post-sarge, we'll
also need to start providing better mechanisms for people to choose what
bits of non-free are suitable in their moral universe.

> 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.

The general consensus seems to have developed that the "DFG" should be
exactly the same as the DFSG: the same freedoms to allow everyone to
redistribute, modify and profit from the work are valuable to greater
and lesser extents for everything in pretty much the same way as they
are for software. That there are cases where non-DFSG works are valuable
anyway is why we continue to offer non-free and contrib components.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
Don't assume I speak for anyone but myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Protect Open Source in Australia from over-reaching changes to IP law
http://www.petitiononline.com/auftaip/ & http://www.linux.org.au/fta/

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