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Re: Social Contract GR's Affect on sarge

On Thu, May 06, 2004 at 12:20:50AM +1000, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> On Tue, May 04, 2004 at 04:45:41PM -0700, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > "Francesco P. Lovergine" <frankie@debian.org> writes:
> > 
> > > I'm just saying that by a practical point of view who thinks so is
> > > pretending that hardware is free too. 
> > 
> > No, I'm not pretending that hardware is free.  It may well not be,
> > which is why we don't distribute it.
> > 
> > > Your point of view is that firmware is software. 
> > 
> > *Real* firmware is not software.  But *real* firmware is *firm*, that
> > is, you can't change it easily: it's in a ROM.  And nobody is asking
> > us to distribute it.
> Now there's a bizarre twist on the idea that everything is software.
> Are you saying that firmware in ROM, which in most cases IS "programs,
> routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of the
> hardware and direct its operation"[1], is NOT SOFTWARE?

Based on the quoted text that would seem to be the statement.  

I personally don't see a difference between either type of firmware,
other than it's location.  That difference is key.  If the firmware is
part of the device already (ie in a ROM or some other part of the
device), and Debian did not sell or provide the hardware, then Debian is
not distributing it. Since Debian is not distributing it, Debian doesn't
need to be concerned with whether it's free or not.  

However if it needs to be loaded onto the device by a driver (or
anything else), then there is the possibility for Debian to distribute
it.  If Debian is distributing it (in any form) it should be held to the
same requirements as any other item that Debian distributes.

Jamin W. Collins

"Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

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