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Re: LCC and blobs

Brian Nelson <pyro@debian.org> writes:

> 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:
>>> > 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 
>>> You may want to take a look at debian-legal, because some people there
>>> think that even free drivers for hardware devices which need an
>>> externally loaded firmware are not acceptable for main.
>> I presume you're referring to drivers which are useless without a non-free
>> firmware blob.  We should treat them exactly the same way as any other Free
>> software which is useless without some non-free component, and stick it in
>> contrib.
> 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
> matter if that blob is stored on the device itself in EPROM or loaded by
> the kernel?  The end result is absolutely identical to the user.

Because the GPL says so. Distribution of firmware binaries under GPL is
just not legal.

If you say the kernel violates the GPL because it depends on firmware
in the hardwares eproms that is like saying Debian violates the GPL
because it depends on non-free CPUs. That way lies insanity. Please go
back and read the various mails about firmware blobs.

> If we choose not to distribute non-free firmware blobs, then fine.  I
> still don't see why it has any effect on the device driver though.

For 99% it doesn't have any effect. The number of drivers realy
needing the blob is very small.

> -- 
> For every sprinkle I find, I shall kill you!


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