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Re: Bug#285518: misdn-utils includes a firmware loader

On Fri, Dec 17, 2004 at 02:37:45AM +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> > No, there's a very concrete reason: given an installation of Debian
> > main, the driver works.  Drivers that require non-free firmware don't
> > work out of the box; 
> The vast, vast majority of drivers require non-free firmware.

Hmm.  A few places to draw the "dependency from driver to firmware"
line seem to be:

1: a dependency exists if the driver needs access to a copy of the firmware
(for devices that need the firmware uploaded on every boot);

2: a dependency exists if the hardware needs firmware at all;

3: a dependency never exists.

My "don't work out of the box" statement is based on #1: hardware that
requires non-free firmware to be uploaded every time will not work
out of the box in Debian (unless the installer is smart enough to pull
non-free firmware packages from non-free, which, in my opinion, would be a
good thing to do when possible, regardless of where the drivers end up).

Your "vast majority" seems to be based on #2: most hardware does employ
firmware, but (at least among the hardware that I've used) does not require
it to be uploaded every time the device is initialized.  (I don't have
any hardware in #1, except possibly my nVidia hardware--I have no idea
what those drivers are doing.)

Glenn Maynard

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