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Bug reports of DFSG violations are tagged ‘lenny-ignore’?


Sorry if this breaks threading, I'm not on this list, I was merely
referred to the discussion through the archives.  If you respond to
this e-mail, please address your replies directly to myself as well,
so that I can respond without further breaking threading.

I applaud Debian's willingness, even if hesitant and heated, to tackle
this issue.

I'm here to point out that there's some exaggeration and false
dilemmas being presented as objections to the liberation of the kernel
in Debian main.

I saw references to e100 and ATI video cards.  Although it is true
that linux-libre and other proposed means to remove their blobs might
cause some hardware to malfunction or fail, I haven't come across any
such hardware myself.  I do have computers with e100 network cards and
ATI video cards, and they keep on working just fine with linux-libre.
Now, I don't know whether the absence of the firmware causes degraded
functionality, or whether it is just not necessary for the specific
hardware I own.  But assuming that the removal of these pieces of
firmware would break all instances of said hardware is a mistake.

As for the false dilemmas...  It just doesn't hold that offering a
Free kernel in main leaves users out in the cold.  As much as I oppose
the notion of distributing non-Free Software, if Debian doesn't, you
might as well *also* ship an encumbered kernel in non-Free, just like
you're planning on shipping stand-alone non-Free firmware, as well as
non-Free firmware that was, let's say, disintegrated :-) from the
kernel proper.  Having yet another kernel, and having it in non-free,
might not be as convenient, but having only the non-free kernel, and
in main while at that, amounts to betraying your foundations, denying
freedom to your users, and fooling some of them on top of that.
Please think very carefully before doing that.

Anyhow, if you do decide to ship a Free kernel in Debian GNU/Linux
main, please remember that cleaning up the kernel binaries is only
part of the work; if the corresponding sources still contain the
non-Free blobs, whoever distributes the binaries is also required to,
at the very least, (pass on an) offer to distribute non-Free Software.
That's why we prepare cleaned-up Linux-libre tarballs, that distros
can use directly, or build upon, applying whatever patches they'd have
otherwise applied on the non-Free kernel published at kernel.org.

Thanks, and keep up the good work,

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}

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