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Re: Purge of firmware to recommence

Anthony Towns wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 21, 2004 at 02:41:32AM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
>> Anthony Towns wrote:
>> > On Tue, Apr 20, 2004 at 09:31:14PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
>> >> In addition, a package in 'non-free' will be required to hold the
>> >> three firmware files for ATI's cards.
>> > *sigh*
>> > Please note that this is explicitly _not_ the case. Firmware is okay in
>> > main for sarge as long as it's not distributed in a way that violates
>> > the GPL.
>> However, as long as a *new* package is uploaded, what's the point of
>> putting it in 'main', when it will likely have to be moved to 'non-free'
>> later?
> The obvious ones are:
> * it's accessible to people who don't care about firmware freeness,
> but don't want to worry about randomly non-free programs in the
> traditional sense. there's obviously a huge bunch of people who
> think this way.

Well, there's obviously a *few* people who think this way.  There are people
who don't care about all kinds of classes of non-free stuff; that isn't, by
itself a reason to put it in 'main'.

> * it feasible to make the kernel packages and installer support this
> for sarge; getting them to support getting firmware for non-free
> is highly unlikely.

Regarding the installer, none of the firmware identified so far is actually
needed for the installer (net installs with tg 5701_a0 hardware
specifically would not work), so I don't believe that this is an issue for
the firmware I was referring to.  Beyond that, I have volunteered to
develop support in the installer for loading such stuff from a separate
disk or CD, once there's enough userland-loaded firmware to make it
worthwhile (which I don't think there is yet).

For the kernel packages, the stuff is loaded from userland; they just
support it implicitly, and it's just a matter of having the file in the
right place.  After some discussion, it was made clear to me that it's
definitely OK to have drivers which are technically "contrib" material in
the kernel packages in "main", as long as they're just an enhancing part of
package, not necessary for the main functionality of the package (which is
correct in the case of drivers in the kernel package).

If we find firmware which is really needed to boot or install on a
significant number of systems, I would support putting it in 'main'
temporarily.  However, I haven't actually *found* any yet.  TG3, for
instance, only needs the firmware download in the case of one particularly
early chipset, or to use functionality which is off by default.  The DRM
drivers are certainly optional during installation, since they're not even
used for text mode.

> That you don't understand the reasoning behind a policy isn't a good
> reason for you to start telling people they have to do things they don't.

OK, I apologize for the mistake in my statement.  Let me correct my
statement. "In addition, a package will be required to hold the three
firmware files for ATI's cards.  I intend to create such a package and put
it in 'non-free'."  (It is possible to put the firmware files in the kernel
package, but I think it's technically a bad idea, since it requires hacking
extra stuff into the kernel package installation routines for something
which is more naturally done in a separate package.)

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

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