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Re: [DRAFT] resolving DFSG violations

On Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 09:47:00PM +0100, Michelle Konzack wrote:
> There are SDKs called "Builder" where you will have NEVER  source  code,
> even as Developer, since the "Builder" create an  IMAGE  which  will  be
> uploaded into the the SRAM  of  a  Microcontroller  (I  have  some  8051
> compatibles) and then after uploading it is executed...

So if you use one of those, YOU chose to use non-free software.  That
isn't Debian's fault, and it isn't their problem that you chose to use
such a combination.

> The Microcontroller cost arround 4 US$ but  if  I  user  the  same  WITH
> integrated FLASH memory, it cost arround 9-12 US$.
> So, the prefered form of distributing is a 16/32/64/128/256 kByte IMAGE.
> Currently I am developing a Hardware where I need  such  thing  and  now
> puzzeling arround whether to use a firmware loader (GNU GPL version 3.0,
> already coded and packed for the Debian distribution) or  use  the  same 
> Microcontroller WITH FLASH which then is arround  5 US$  more  expensive
> and if the final Hardware cost arround 40 US$ (without VAT) in Low-Cost.
> I do not know, whether my customers accepet 5 US$ more.

Who knows.  I guess a question is, do you want it to work with a free
system like Debian, or are you going to require users to use an external
firmware file that in the case of Debian at best would mean they have to
enable non-free.

> However, my Firmware Loader must be there anyway for upgrades...

Sure, but the user would only need to deal with non-free stuff if they
actually want to update it.  Not for normal use.

> The question is, what do you want with the Sourcecode?

Who knows, who cares.  That doesn't matter.

> Reprogramming?  A singel error in the parameters will cook your computer
> hardware and HOW do you want to recode something or add functionality?
> I have choosen the smallest Microcontroller required to save money...

Yep.  Again your choice.  Might be a good choice, but every choice has
advantages and disadvantages.

> Yes, I can reploaye a MC with 16 kByte SRAM with one which has 256 kByte
> and then OSS frickler can add stuff, but this would make the  controller
> over 10 times more expensive...
> Please think about it.

We have.  Debian main's policies are not and should not be influenced by
your bottom line.  It just doesn't matter to the Debian project.  It is
not decided by the convinience factor of end users who decided to go for
the cheapest piece of crap hardware they could find.  If convinience was
the only factor, then why not use the OS the hardware developer provided
drivers for (probably windows of course)?

> I have the hell striping down the firmware of my hardware  to  fit  into
> 32 kByte and you are talking about modifications to it...
> I am sure, my enterprise is  not  the  only  one  wondering  about  such
> requirement to let users modify firmware of sensibel hardware which  CAN
> destuct the whole computer since they have to leafe out  some  stuff  to
> get it into the small memories...

That still isn't the point.  If someone uses a soldering iron on the
device they are also likely to break it.  A hammer could break it too.
Who cares.

The point is whether or not your device is capable of operating with a
system consisting entirely of free software or not.  This doesn't mean
you have to provide free firmware, as long as the operating system
doesn't need to have anything to do with getting that firmware to your
device.  If you have flash to provide it to yourself at power on, great,
you took care of it.  Some users may still dislike your device for having
closed hardware, but that's a free hardware question, not a free
operating system/software question, and Debian isn't about free
hardware, it is about free software.

> It is useless because I am building a hardware  which  take  me  several
> month  to  develop  plus  coding  testing  the  software  in  a  secured
> environement where hardware can not be destucted...
> The lifetime of such hardware would be maybe 3-5 years and now, you  can
> explain me, HOW you would develop/recode the firmware, if you  have  NOT
> the requirement environement, risking damages to the hardware and more.
> You do not know the internals of my hardware and have to  guess  things.
> Without the hardware developer tools you can not even DEBUG the Hardware
> while loading YOUR hacked firmware.  Even if  my  hardware  has  a  JTAG
> connector...

It might be useful to one person in a million.

> > > So the plan is: "Debian is only for hardware manufacturers that
> > > embed the firmware in flash. If you hide your non-free stuff, that'd
>               ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>     Which would make hardware much more expensive

That's right.  You can make your hardware contain non-free stuff, and
Debian doesn't care since that's a hardware thing.  Other people will
still care of cousrse, but probably a lot less.  Just don't require
Debian to include non-free stuff to make your hardware work.

Len Sorensen

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