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Re: Bug#353277: ndiswrapper in main

On Thu, Mar 02, 2006 at 10:27:48PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 02, 2006 at 08:32:46AM +0000, Colin Watson wrote:
> > It's common for e.g. network card manufacturers to provide their images
> > on a floppy disk. If ndiswrapper were integrated into d-i, then it would
> > be possible to let the user insert the floppy disk provided by the
> > manufacturer and make their card work with just that. 
> Note though that the code to grab the NDIS driver off the
> disk/cdrom/network and install it onto the filesystem would fit precisely
> under the "installer package" definition and thus belong in contrib,
> even with ndiswrapper in main...

I suspect any code that handled driver disks would (or at least could,
pretty plausibly and sensibly) be focused along the lines of supporting
free drivers that didn't ship with the last Debian release. Even with
Debian's highly modular kernels, we don't always include support for
every single free driver out there, and it would not be at all
unreasonable or unlikely for somebody to publish a driver disk that
includes some free driver module backported to the kernel in Debian's
most recent release so that you could install systems with the
corresponding hardware.

If somebody then came along and wanted to add a few lines of code to
piggyback NDIS or firmware support onto the back of that, I find it
surprising that we'd feel it worth punting that off to contrib; all the
interesting stuff would be in the generic driver disk handling, and NDIS
or firmware support would be an extra entry in a case statement or
something like that. In fact, I could well believe that some firmware
would fall into the scenario in the previous paragraph, being free but
just not supported by the most recent Debian release, or you need a
newer version for your card or something. I suppose it *could* be split
out, although - insofar as I can make this claim of hypothetical code -
it seems to me that it'd complicate things substantially to do so.


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson@debian.org]

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