Debian's Linux kernel continues to regress on freedom
I'm not sure I can take the Debian kernel team seriously any more.
http://wiki.debian.org/KernelFirmwareLicensing states, in part:
>Debian kernel team identifies the following three types of firmware, currently
>found in the Linux kernel:
>1. Sourceless binary blobs with no license, no explicit permission to
> an explicit prohibition to redistribute.
> This category currently includes the dabusb, dgrs, emi62, keyspan, smctr,
> cops, emi26, and 3c359 drivers. Removal of these drivers will have minimal
> impact on the users, as they are believed to be unpopular and not likely to
> be required during the installation.
>It has been agreed within Debian kernel team, that the firmware in category 1
>is not acceptable in Debian. It is the intention of the kernel team to prune the
>affected drivers from the upstream tarball.
The most recent linux-source-2.6.22 contains the following files:
drivers/usb/serial/keyspan_usa*_fw.h (11 files)
In other words, *all* of the above drivers. It's even worse than that. Look
at the information about drgs:
>> Dear Andres:
>> After further research, we found that this product was killed in place
>> and never reached the market. We would like to request that this not be
>There will be no users impacted by pulling support.
Non-free material is being included in main for the benefit of *precisely zero*
users. There's no two ways about this: this is a Social Contract violation.
Coming back to looking at Debian after being preoccupied by family business, I
see that the kernel team is not even seriously trying to separate out any
non-free material. There have been severe regressions from sarge and no attempt
is being made to fix them.
I guess the Social Contract really is a joke. I don't know why new applicants
are supposed to agree to it. Old members apparently violate it at will for years
with no consequences.
It doesn't make me respect Debian very much.
Nathanael Nerode <email@example.com>
Read it and weep.