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Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

Ben Finney (2008-11-09 10:54 +1100) wrote:

> We don't distribute non-free *anything* in Debian. That's what our
> users are promised, at any rate.

Yes, this claim has been repeated many times, but as a thought-exercise
let us be more concrete: who exactly are those users who have been
promised? I mean, we know what the DFSG paper says but what and where is
the group of people (users) who got that promise and are deeply in their
hearts relying on Debian to keep it *in the context of firmwares*?

As far as I know, none of us have made a survey for Debian users and
studied how they want this "promise" to be applied when it comes to
firmware blobs. Neither have I. So when discussing this matter I'd say
that it's a lot more *honest* to point directly to the words and
sentences in the DFSG paper than to some supposed group of people who is
supposed to rely on some supposed promise. Argumentation based on
"general opinion" is not valid unless one has some facts what this
general opinion is.

    (I'm sorry for the following religious reference in this
    international and multi-cultural community but this is only a side
    note. As you know, some people have the Bible as their guide. In
    many ways it's a very good guide - in my opinion - but at the same
    time I think it's a really bad guide if you take every bit in the
    book literally and refuse to consider the current reality [which is
    always social construction]. Firmware blobs didn't exist when Jesus
    lived, and I believe most Debian users understand this.)

I like the point Theodore Ts'o made about what is or isn't "going to
help make the world a better place." In my opinion being too extremist
doesn't serve one's wider goals (if such thing exist) but the person

I don't care what category firmware blobs are in Debian (non-free or
whatever), but I think firmware which is separated from hardware is
definitely not evil. They are even a good thing, and therefore
*hardware* which can be supported through free drivers should be
supported out-of-the-box by the Debian installer.

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