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Re: Why does Debian distributed firmware not need to be Depends: upon? [was Re: LCC and blobs]

On Sun, 9 Jan 2005 22:01:52 -0800, Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> wrote:
> It is not enough to say that you *could* create free firmware files.  As a
> user of xpdf, I can unequivocally say that there are pdfs that I have full
> rights to, because *I created them*.  I cannot say that about firmware
> files.  If you have a free firmware file that works with the driver in
> question, please produce it for us to see.  It should become part of the
> package immediately, and be loaded by default by the driver.
> If, on the other hand, we know that the driver needs to load firmware from
> disk before it can actually be usable with any device, and we don't have any
> real, working firmware images that are free, it is disingenuous to handwave
> this away by saying that "free firmware could exist".  We either have free
> firmware for use with the device, or we don't.  If we don't, then the driver
> won't work for our users without additional effort, and we should be honest
> about that.

I think the best way to be honest about that is to exclude non-free
firmware images from the kernel binary and modules themselves but to
permit loading them from the initrd or the root filesystem.  Initrd
images in main shouldn't contain non-free firmware; initrd images in
non-free may (presuming that they are legitimately distributable), and
Debian's mkinitrd tools are available (and quite usable) for
sophisticated users to roll their own.

Depending on what happens at the day job, I may have a chance to put
in some effort along those lines as I migrate their platform to 2.6.x

- Michael

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