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Re: On the freeness of a BLOB-containing driver

Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> writes:

> On Sat, Dec 11, 2004 at 05:52:36PM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
>> In the case of a device driver, that dependency would still be there if 
>> the firmware was in ROM. Which would put pretty much all of our device 
>> drivers, X (talks to VESA code), APM and ACPI (talks to BIOS), and so 
>> on, in contrib too.
> Not in the same way: we don't have to include it; the device driver does
> not have to be supplied a copy of it for it to work.
>> Stuff in contrib generally has a package dependency on something in 
>> non-free that is necessary to install it, and the entire package is not 
>> functional if that dependency is not fulfilled. The driver is a 
>> component of the larger kernel which remains functional.
> If it comes down to "the driver, on its own, would not be acceptable for
> main because it is not functional; but as a practical matter, we allow
> it aggregated with the rest of the kernel because splitting individual
> drivers into contrib is a pain for everyone involved and not worth the
> theoretical benefits", I can live with that.
> It's "we're pretending the driver is fully functional and does not have a
> dependency on the firmware, even though it asks for it by name, opens and
> parses the file, and doesn't do anything useful without it" that I'm
> uncomfortable with.

Yes, we agree there.

The kernel as whole is functional without the extra firmware. The
driver itself is not. But since the driver is only a small portion of
the kernel it does not impede its functionality enought to force a
move to contrib.


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