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Re: Free OS versus free hw

On Wed, Oct 29, 2008, Ben Finney wrote:
> Since the Social Contract promises Debian *won't* ship non-free
> things, that's not an option compatible with the promises made by the
> Debian project.

 I might not have said it clearly enough:
 - I agree the current DFSG and social contract imply we need to provide
   sources for these firmware if they are shipped in Debian
 - in turn, this implies that I'm suggesting we might need to reword
   parts of them to reduce the perimeter of Debian to something
   achievable which we still love and aim for

 Ah I'm certainly going to get a pile of flame-ish mails for suggesting
 we might need to change the social contract of the DFSG.  It remains
 that the current versions imply a too large work which I think
 shouldn't be Debian's.

> >  - this would probably be very little people
> The same argument can be made for free software targeted to the
> motherboard CPU. It can also be refuteded with similar
> counter-arguments: for example, those few who *can* make use of free
> software can improve and redistribute it, thereby benefiting many
> others beside themselves. This is only possible if the work is
> distributed as free software.

 Yes; it just helps putting things in perspective.  Just like when we
 decide to remove free software from the archive.  This is not an
 argument that the firmwares shouldn't come with source code, it's an
 argument that if we allowed firmwares to come without source code, it
 wouldn't affect a lot of people.  Of course it would still affect some
 people.  If this itch is worth scratching, another project could be
 started or these people could join one of the "free hardware" projects
 which are becoming more common these days.

Loïc Minier

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