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Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main

Adam McKenna <adam@flounder.net> writes:

> On Mon, Feb 27, 2006 at 05:42:51PM -0500, Michael Poole wrote:
>> This lists several signs that a package requires another package, but
>> it is not presented as an exhaustive list.  If you use a broad
>> definition of "require", it is reasonable to exclude ndiswrapper from
>> main on the grounds that there are no NDIS drivers in main.
> I don't think this is a valid argument, the requirement is that it "must not"
> depend on software outside of main, not that it "must" have software in main
> on which to depend.

Oh, your point here is certainly well-taken.  I think the point is not
so much whether there is an NDIS driver in main, as whether there is
a free NDIS driver for use with ndiswrapper, which is not a toy, and
which is best-supported by ndiswrapper and not, say, directly.

> There are in fact free NDIS drivers available.  There have been various,
> uncompelling arguments offered so far as to why these free NDIS drivers do
> not "count" for satisfying policy.

I guess I think the right test is: "Is this package useful in a system
with only free software on it?"  Useful is a pragmatic question; if
every proposed use has a better solution already ready and
implemented, then I think the proposed use should not count.

I'm prepared to be pretty liberal, in applying such a test.  For
example, if there were two free drivers to support a piece of
hardware, one used through ndiswrapper and one linked into the kernel,
such that everyone thought the in-kernel one was better, but there was
some class of users for which the ndiswrapper driver would be better,
say, because it has some single weird feature that might help, then I
would say that the ndiswrapper version is useful, despite the
availibility of a generally better alternative.

And the mere hypothetical existence of the alternative wouldn't count
either.  If there is, here and now, a free driver available through
ndiswrapper, and there is not any existing alternative (even though,
as free software, there theoretically could be), then I would say that
counts as useful, even if in an ideal world the use might vanish.

So this comes down, for me, to the simple question: what are the free
drivers for use with ndiswrapper, and if they are drivers for which
there are already generally better alternatives, what makes the
ndiswrapper version better for some class of users?


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