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Re: DFSG violations: non-free but no contrib

On Wed, Nov 05, 2008, Robert Collins wrote:
> It may be that for that hardware Debian does not fit your desires. Can I
> remind you of this little statement

 Please, don't quote the social contract on me.

 And I already expressed that I understood my position implied changes
 to foundation documents.

> >  Now if Debian can distribute a blob which allows my hardware to run as
> >  indicated by a clear interface with my free OS, that's good enough for
> >  me.
> Why draw the line there? why not be happy if Debian can ship a blob that
> uses the kernel's binary interfaces?  There's no moral or technical
> difference.

 I acknowledge it's hard to draw the line.  One idea in this thread was
 "[ultimately] runs on the host's CPU".  It's hard.

> > > And if the answer reduces down to 'firmware is made by proprietary
> > > vendors and does something many people need and we don't have a
> > > replacement yet' - well thats fine, but at various points we didn't have
> > > a free kernel, or a free libc, or a free graphic desktop environment.
> > 
> >  And we didn't have Debian or OpenMoko; and the glibc, linux, and
> >  Xorg/GNOME/KDE/Xfce are huge separate projects and we could start new
> >  projects to free more things up.
> Debian started in 1993; Linux was first released in 1991, glibc had its
> core functional in 1988
> ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_C_Library#cite_note-1). KDE was
> started in 1996, and GNOME in 1997. XFree86 forked around 1992, IIRC.
> We *had* Debian long before we had a free graphical desktop environment
> [that really meets the term - a window many isn't enough :)]

 I still don't see your point.  I hope you see mine that all these
 efforts are run as separate projects though.  And the availability of
 new free software after the apparition of Debian isn't really an
 exciting argument.  Would Debian have been possible without a free
 glibc and a free kernel?  Should we make it harder for Debian to be
 useful because we don't have free firmware and hardware?

> >  Google.com is run with software I don't have access to
> google doesn't affect the functionality of hardware you own.

 No, but what is debated here is whether I need to be able to change it.
 I can't change google's software, I might not be able to change the
 firmware's software depending on the hardware implementation (whether
 the firmware can be dynamically loaded) or on the availability of the
 firmware's source.  Yet I can use google and my wifi card.

 What's possible is pretty clear at the time you buy the hardware and
 wont change over time, wont require relicensing.

> > , but I use it
> >  daily, as well as my microwave

 Or my phone; this was to illustrate my point WRT to interfaces: I don't
 mind interfacing with something non-free when (there's no free
 replacement and) there's a clear interface.

 TBH I don't see enough new ideas or arguments in this thread anymore to
 justify proposing fundamental changes to our core documents, so I'll
 shut up.

Loïc Minier

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