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Re: LCC and blobs

Ron Johnson <ron.l.johnson@cox.net> writes:

> On Fri, 2004-12-10 at 15:21 -0800, Brian Nelson wrote:
>> Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org> writes:
>> > On Fri, Dec 10, 2004 at 01:20:32PM +0100, Marco d'Itri wrote:
>> >> On Dec 09, Bruce Perens <bruce@perens.com> wrote:
> [snip]
>> Then we might as well remove the whole kernel from main, since most
>> devices depend on a non-free firmware blob to operate.  Why does it
> Most ?????

I'm no hardware expert, but I assume all ethernet cards, wireless
chipsets, and SCSI cards do.  At least that's true for all of the
hardware I have...

> Or are you stretching beyond reason, to include stuff like the 
> BIOS, which isn't in the kernel?

If it made any sense at all for a mainboard's BIOS to loaded by the
Linux kernel at boot time with a non-free firmware blob, the current
consensus (on debian-legal anyway) seems to be that Debian would not
support it.  Period.  The drivers for it would have to go in contrib.

As far as I'm concerned, distribution of the firmware is the
manufacturer's realm.  Whether the manufacturer distributes it on an
EPROM on the device itself, or on a CD shipped with the device, or just
provides it for download from a website, I don't care.  That's their
decision.  Debian should not care one bit how the firmware is loaded on
the device, and the method used should not dictate whether a driver is

As for whether Debian would actually distribute the firmware blobs in
main, I would prefer that we do.  It can be a real pain installing
Debian on a system in which I have to retrieve the firmware from an
external source.  It's only hurting the end-user by making them jump
through more hoops to install Debian, with no obvious benefit.  However,
there seems to be a strong movement to make Debian 100% free down to the
last bit.  Reversing this movement is another much more controversial

For every sprinkle I find, I shall kill you!

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