Bug#502959: general: raff.debian.org uses non-free software
On 2008-10-21 14:30, Romain Beauxis wrote:
> Le Tuesday 21 October 2008 13:10:28 Peter Clifton, vous avez écrit :
>> Having no source-code for firmware is hardly that different to having a
>> completely open-source driver which does un-told magic by poking
>> un-documented registers in a complex chip. Think Intel graphics before
>> they released documentation for (some of) their chips.
> Agreed, though it does not restrain us from asking for free firmware.
> If I recall well, one of the origin of the GNU fondation was the fact that
> having free drivers alowed one to actually *fix* issues he may have with his
> *own* hardware. Then, the very same reasoning can apply to binary firmware.
> So, yes this is a brand new issue, that comes from the new way of designing
> hardware. But that doesn't mean we should give up and remain behind the line
> that was drawn 20 (or so) years ago. We now should also ask for open source
> firmware for the very same reason that this huge effort toward free drivers
> was done. If we did it for drivers, there's no reason we can't suceed for
With firmwares you need much more than the source code for it in order
to make changes:
- documentation on how the hardware works internally
- documentation of what you are allowed to safely do from firmware
(without damaging the hardware)
- the tools used to compile the firmware, which are not necesarely open
source or free
If a vendor wants to provide that fine, but just because they don't it
doesn't mean we should stop using that
piece of hardware.