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Re: LCC and blobs

Anthony DeRobertis <anthony@derobert.net> writes:

>>>So would a web-based firmware loader, that never saved the firmware to
>>>disk allow the drivers to be in main?
>> Of course not.  It's fetching software, then using that software.
>> ICQ software merely mentions messages, but doesn't use them.
> ICQ uses the messages as instructions telling it what glyphs to
> display on your screen. That part of the message, though, might be
> free.

That's a dangerous route to follow.  By that logic, all the https
browsers have dependencies on non-free software: the private keys
associated with their CA root certificates.

> It does use significant features from non-packaged software ---
> message routing, buddy list management, buddy tracking, file transfer,
> etc.
> We've elected to ignore ICQ's dependency on an ICQ server. We've
> elected to ignore a driver's dependency on firmware burnt in ROM or
> stored in flash --- even when it executes that code on the main
> CPU. We've elected not to ignore firmware that resides in RAM instead.

No.  Firmware resident in RAM but put there by, say, the BIOS is
fine.  We've elected not to ignore firmware which is to be handled and
installed by Debian software.  You're having trouble making a coherent
position out of this only because you keep recasting it in terms which
aren't equivalent.  The issue at hand is whether somebody might ever
download software from Debian and find it useless without additional
software which he could download... but not from Debian, since it's
not Free and not packaged.

If I download an ICQ client, there are lots of reasons I might find it
useful: I might not have anything to say, or I might have no network
connection, or I might have no friends to talk to.  Debian is not
responsible for providing me with creativity, connectivity, or
friends.  I think the example provided elsewhere in this thread --
that we'd never say an ICQ client Depends: icq-server -- is excellent.
We'd also never mark something Depends: bios, because the BIOS is
essential and assumed to be present.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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