[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main

On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 10:41:35AM -0600, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On 22 Feb 2006, Steve Langasek verbalised:

> >> What makes 'running free windows drivers for stuff' so much more
> >> unrealistic than 'running free windows software for stuff'?
> >> Especially seen as how no Windows software is packaged for Debian,
> >> so that our users would have to do this themselves?

> > I can, personally, point to Free Software that I've run under Wine
> > on Debian.  I can't do the same for free drivers running under
> > ndiswrapper, and I don't see that anyone else in this discussion has
> > done so either.  That makes the second case a hypothetical, and IMHO
> > it seems to be a contrived one.

>         To me it seems odd that the freedom of a work can be deterined
>  by whether or not there are thirs party works licensed appropriately
>  or not. So I am coming down on the side of treating emulatrs and
>  works that implement abswtract interfaces/protocols licensed freely
>  as free, in the manner of wine. ndiswrapper seems to fall close to
>  that, since it is not specific to any particular driver out there.

The distinction between main and contrib isn't one of the freeness of the
contents, though; it's of whether the package requires a component outside
of Debian/main for use.  Actually, let's look at what policy says:

2.2.2. The contrib section

     Examples of packages which would be included in _contrib_ are:
        * free packages which require _contrib_, _non-free_ packages or
          packages which are not in our archive at all for compilation or
          execution, and
        * wrapper packages or other sorts of free accessories for non-free

ndiswrapper doesn't really require any non-free packages for execution; it
requires *some* NDIS driver, but it's probably not useful to package those
and definitely not useful for ndiswrapper to depend on a particular one of
them.  So I guess this makes it a question of whether ndiswrapper is a free
wrapper package for non-free programs.  Well, the name suggests that it is a
wrapper. :)  Is it a wrapper for non-free software?  That is certainly my
understanding of it.  Even if free NDIS drivers do exist (and we know that
they do), I've heard enough negative comments about the quality of the
ndiswrapper shim that I can't really believe that a sane person will want to
use it as anything other than a wrapper for non-free drivers.

So I have a hard time defending ndiswrapper-in-main on policy grounds.  I
think most of the people saying it belongs in main are really concerned that
putting it in contrib will mean it's less well supported in Debian; it'd be
nice if those concerns led to better support/integration for contrib,
instead of arguments about where the line should be...

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/

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: