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can a kernel in main depend on firmware in non-free to work?

Hi again,

I've been watching the discussion and the separation of firmware from
kernel sources with a lot of interest, but today it dawned on me that,
even if this project is completed, it wouldn't quite address the issue
of compliance with Debian procedures and regulations.

I understand main is supposed to be self-contained, and not depend on
software in contrib (or non-free, for that matter).

My understanding is that portions of the Debian system that depend on
non-Free Software, in spite of being Free themselves, belong in
contrib, not in main.

If my understanding above is correct, then kernel drivers that require
on non-Free firmware should not be in main, but rather in contrib, and
the non-Free firmware itself (if shipped at all) ought to be in

But Debian needs a kernel in main, because pretty much all other
pieces of software in there depend on a kernel to work.  Therefore, in
order to be self-contained, it seems to me that main needs a kernel
that doesn't include these drivers that belong in contrib.

It seems that even those who stand by the removal of the non-Free
firmware from Debian would be happy with a kernel in main containing
drivers that depend on the non-Free firmware to function, even though,
per my (admittedly superficial) understanding of Debian procedures and
regulations, such a kernel should be in contrib.

I don't see that anyone has brought up this point yet.  Is that
because nodoby had noticed it, or because I'm missing something and
that led me to an incorrect conclusion?

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment you may be able to offer,

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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