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Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main

On Tue, Feb 21, 2006 at 10:40:06AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 05:36:13PM +0100, Robert Millan wrote:
> > I requested that ndiswrapper and ndiswrapper-modules-i386 be moved to contrib.

> ndiswrapper is a program to allow users to load Windows drivers for their
> hardware and use them on Linux. The drivers are executed on the main CPU;
> there are no free drivers that ndiswrapper is useful for, apart from a
> single example driver that is a port of a driver already in the kernel.

> We currently allow both emulators, that play non-free ROMs, and clients
> for network protocols for which there is no non-free server into main.

> ndiswrapper was accepted into main in November 2004.

> AFAICS, this would come under the "overrule a developer (3:1 majority)"
> power.

Yes, this is not a request from Andres that we make a decision on his
behalf, therefore the Technical Committee would be acting to override the
maintainer under 6.1.4 with a 3:1 majority.

> > The maintainer refuses to move it unless you rule a formal decision or a
> > consensus is reached.  I think the latter is impossible, and therefore I ask you
> > to consider the issue.

> While I would personally rather see the "contrib" demarkation cover
> this, emulators, and clients for propietary protocols, I'm disinclined
> to override both the maintainer and the ftpmaster that accepted it,
> particularly on this single issue rather than as a global policy change
> for those issues. I expect I'll either abstain or vote against.

I suspect I disagree with Anthony on where exactly the line should be drawn,
but it does seem to me that the arguments used to justify ndiswrapper's
presence in main are rather contrived.  Nobody is going to want to run
drivers under ndiswrapper in a production environment if there is a suitable
free equivalent available for Linux; the only practical applications I see
here are using non-free Windows drivers under Linux for
otherwise-unsupported hardware, and using ndiswrapper as a tool for
preliminary testing of drivers being written for Windows in an environment
that doesn't require booting Windows.  The former is what I use it for, and
what every user I know uses it for, and doesn't justify a claim that
ndiswrapper does not depend on non-free software.  The latter, IMHO, would
be grounds for shipping the software in main, but AFAIK this is purely a
hypothetical at this point.

Either way, I do agree with Anthony that one-off overrides of maintainers
don't seem like the best way for us to be spending our time.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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