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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 
> firmwares.

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.

Best regards,

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