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Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main

This one time, at band camp, Thomas Bushnell BSG said:
> Stephen Gran <sgran@debian.org> writes:
> >> In any case, the real point here is the following statement from
> >> 2.2.2, which says that contrib is for "wrapper packages or other sorts
> >> of free accessories for non-free programs."
> >
> > Since ndiswrapper's main purpose is to create a kernel API to allow
> > drivers designed for a different API to communicate with the kernel, I
> > don't think this counts as a wrapper.  ndiswrapper does what it sets out
> > to do, whether or not any software (free or not) uses that API.
> That's curious.  It's described as a wrapper in the package name, the
> Debian package description, and the upstream webpage.
> In both cases, it is specifically documented as being for use with
> non-free software.  It's specifically said that its purpose is to deal
> with the fact that some vendors "refuse to release hardware
> specifications" and that for such hardware, users are stuck with
> non-free NDIS drivers.
> While we are trusting the package maintainer, surely we should trust
> the package maintainer to be correctly documenting the program?  

I would actually expect all of them to describe the package in a way that
is useful to users.  I would not expect anyone to describe the package in
terms of how it works or what it actually does.  Most people wouldn't
bother to read it, their eyes would glaze over, and they would miss out
on a potentially useful piece of free software.

> > No, the question is, is ndiswrapper a functionally complete program?
> Are you saying that ndiswrapper is useful all by itself, without any
> drivers at all?  I have asked this question before, but didn't get an
> answer; I really don't know.  What functions does it provide, in the
> absence of an NDIS driver?

It provides a kernel API that can be used to allow the NDIS stack to
communicate with the linux network stack.  But I and others have
answered this question already.  The fact that you're asking it again
leads me to believe that either you didn't like the first answer, or
that you can't go back to the millions of previous mails in this thread.

> >> But I don't know; everyone seems to be dancing around the actual
> >> question: are there any free drivers for which ndiswrapper is useful?
> >
> > This is an irrelevant question, which is why you're not getting an
> > answer you're happy with.
> Well, if it's true that ndiswrapper is useful even without any
> drivers, then yeah, that would be an irrelevant question.  I haven't
> seen any descriptions of its functionality except that it is useless
> without drivers to wrap.

Then please do minimal research before answering every single email in a

> >> But rather than argue about what *might* be so, geez, can *somebody*
> >> PLEASE, just answer the factual question?
> >
> > Yes.  Non-free drivers need ndiswrapper.  ndiswrapper does not need
> > non-free drivers.  There is no dependency.  Does that help?
> Perhaps we disagree about what a wrapper is.  Can you give me an
> example of a wrapper that you think does belong in contrib?

As far as I know, we have so far held 'wrapper' to mean things like
installers that installed non-free software, or hardware emulators that
require non-free roms to even start.  There are dozens of those already
in contrib.  I assume you can look for yourself and get a reasonable
|   ,''`.                                            Stephen Gran |
|  : :' :                                        sgran@debian.org |
|  `. `'                        Debian user, admin, and developer |
|    `-                                     http://www.debian.org |

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