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Re: DFSG violations: non-free but no contrib

On Mon, Nov 03 2008, Brian May wrote:

> I don't think it does matter.
> On a related note though, compare to hardware vendors:
> A) provides all firmware, in binary only form, without source code, on
> board device ROM that cannot be changed.
> B) provides all firmware on disk, in binary only form, without source
> code, in form that must be downloaded to device after every boot.
  C) Provides the source of the binary blob, which may, given the tool
     chain (hardware/software) can be used by people who own such a tool
     chain to modify and recreate the blob.  Or to create a different
     hardware by studying the original, Or  just print it on a
     shirt. What people do with the freedom is not something I would
     like to label and narrow down.

> A hardware is usable with Debian main. B is not.

        C is usable as well.

> Is this really a win? Have we gained anything for freedom? I suspect

        We can't convince all non-free creators to come over rfom the
 dark side to the source.  Buty that is not an agument to embrace the
 sith either.

> not. In both cases the firmware cannot be modified. At least for B
> there is some hope because the open source code to perform the
> downloading of the firmware has been written, where as doing that for
> A that might be harder.

        But there is less pressure on the author, since they are getting
 paid, since people who want to run debian hassle free will by their
 hardware anyway.

        I think that the same argument would have helpd for including
 netscape in main as Alex Yukhimets was arguing back in '97. There might
 be short term gain in popularity by letting the line shift on freedom
 (heck, windows still is the dominant OS for a reason).


Blow it out your ear.
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>  
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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