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Re: LCC and blobs

Brian Nelson <pyro@debian.org> writes:

> You say they should go into contrib because they depend on non-free
> software.  However, *all* device drivers depend on non-free software.
> Why does it matter if that non-free stuff is stored on the device itself
> or is loaded externally?

Because if it were stored on the device itself, and always packaged
with the device, then there *still* wouldn't be a dependency, because
all owners of the hardware would already have the firmware.

By contrast, in this case, some owners of the hardware do *not* have
the firmware, which would be the whole reason for putting it in

Think of it this way.  For the card with the built-in firmware, the
driver does not depend on any additional packages or software
distribution to work.  By contrast, for the card with the separate
firmware, the driver *does* depend on that additional package to work.

> All hardware depends on non-free software.  If you want to lobby for all
> hardware to be free, including the firmware/BIOS/whatever, then fine.
> That's a noble war to wage and I'd support your efforts.

Really?  Will you support it in the traditional free software way, by
saying "no, we don't support that, it's not free and we can't"?  I
guess not.

The issue isn't whether there is non-free software which is depended
on in some extremely loose sense of depended.  (All hardware depends
on the non-free software which runs the power grid too, right?)  The
issue is whether that other software is the kind of software which
*could* be distributed for free.

Because the separate firmware could be distributed as free software
but is not, and because that failure to distribute it as free software
hurts all the users who could have benefited from its free
distribution, the package which depends on it goes in contrib.

For the built-in firmware, which cannot be changed anyway, the failure
to distribute it as free software is not hurting the user; rather, the
decision to make it fixed on the card is what hurts the user.

We cannot fix all problems; we stand for the specific case of free
software, so that's why we do this one rather than that one.

> However, requiring a policy like this at this time is completely insane
> because no hardware exists that meets this requirement.

"Completely insane"?  

> > To say it is arbitrary is worse, because that insults the motives of
> > the people who disagree with you.
> Your motives baffle me, and I can't say I feel any shame in insulting
> them.ed

Then please stop posting.  Debian has enough people who feel like
disagreement is grounds for calling someone "completely insane" and
"arbitrary" on the wrong mailing list.  Take it to debian-legal.

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