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Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main

On 22 Feb 2006, Steve Langasek told this:

> 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
> programs.
> 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.

        I guess this is where we diverge.  ndiswrapper is indeed  a
 free wrapper package for drivers. Are the drivers that can run on it
 free or not? Well, they do not need to be. Since ndiswrapper does not
 only install specific software, unlike the sun jdk installers we have
 around. So, ndiswrpaper is a wrapper around software drivers that
 work on windows -- and these drivers can be distributed under
 whatever licenses their authors desire.

> 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.

        I am afraid I do not see this. If there is a free windows
 driver for some hardware I own, I am far more likely to use a wrapper
 than try and port the driver on my own -- kernel driver writing is
 not how I tend to spend my time.

> 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...

        I am not one of these people. I honestly think that
 ndiswrapper is free on its own merits.

I love you more than anything in this world.  I don't expect that will
last. Elvis Costello
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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