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Re: [DRAFT] resolving DFSG violations

Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org> writes:

> On Mon, 2008-10-27 at 18:31 +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> > If the vendor is able to send out a bit stream and (with or
> > without the owner's intervention) load that bit stream onto the
> > already-purchased hardware to modify its behaviour,

That qualifier in parentheses would perhaps be better worded as
“(it's irrelevant for this distinction whether the user's
intervention is required or not)”.

In other words, I'm intending for this test to apply irrespective of
whether we're talking about a firmware loading program that the user
runs manually, or an automated phone-home update mechanism, or
anything else. The test is only whether there is an intentional
pipeline from “vendor distributes new bit stream” to “existing
device now operating with newer vendor-supplied bit stream”.

> > then we just crossed into the realm where the recipients of those
> > bytes (the owners of the hardware) deserve all the free-software
> > freedoms in order to retain ownership of their hardware.

Further, if that bit stream is something we're proposing to be
distributed as part of Debian, I'm saying this means that the Social
Contract promises that the bit stream will be free.

> Sounds like a DRM type intervention.

Yes, that's one possible case, but I'm drawing a different line that
may or may not encompass DRM. I hope that's clearer with the above

> > If the bit stream is contained in hardware such that it not
> > feasible for the user *or* the vendor to modify, then they are
> > both on equal footing and it's much less important to demand
> > free-software rights, since the vendor doesn't have them either.

 \     “Here is a test to see if your mission on earth is finished. If |
  `\                          you are alive, it isn't.” —Francis Bacon |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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