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LCC and blobs

Goswin von Brederlow wrote:

And how will you get the other members to support architectures they do not support?
They would have to support merging in of source-code changes for all architectures that any member builds. They would not be called upon to compile those architectures.

And that is without mentioning the non-free ness and license issues coming up after sarge. The firmware blobs and the like.
The whole system has to be DFSG-free. Debian won't compromise on that.

I have been thinking about the blob problem for a while. I propose to remove blobs from the driver, and store them as files in initramfs (the kernel-internal filesystem created by the stuff in /usr/src/linux*/usr) or initrd.img. At boot time, the drivers would look for the blobs and load them if they are present, and fail gracefully or fall back if they are not. This gets around some GPL issues, because rather than be treated as code, the blobs become external files that are just sent to the device by the driver.

Doing the above doesn't necessarily solve the problem for Debian, because we would still not want to distribute the blobs. but it allows the kernel to be GPL-compliant, which I don't feel it is while the blobs live in drivers.

An alternative is to make blobs their own loadable modules, but then we are treating them as code rather than as just a file that the kernel sends to some device, and we get GPL issues.



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