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Re: Going ahead with non-free-firmware

Philippe Cerfon wrote:
> Ansgar Burchardt wrote:
> > I think there was consensus to introduce the non-free-firmware
> > section
> > and move the non-free firmware blobs there.  I'm wondering what we
> > need
> > to do next?
> While it's good that at least something happens it's really sad and
> kinda disturbing to see that a more narrow-minded solution is taken,
> while a better proposal lies on the table.
> Especially since the non-free-firmware seems to make it less likely,
> that a non-open could ever happen.

Not true at all.  A future change to build a more fine-grained version
of non-free could happen just as easily with or without this change.

> When Debian is anyway about to add new suites and people will have to
> adapt to that, why not implementing a more powerful schema that not
> only allows to opt-in to closed-source firmware, but also allows to,
> at the same time, opt-out of other closed-source software, while
> allowing at the same time to opt-IN to non-free, but open software?

Two reasons.

First, and more importantly, because we can very easily define exactly
what "firmware" means to support classifying packages, whereas we'd
spend a long time bikeshedding other fine-grained distinctions among
proprietary software and determining exactly which classifications make
sense to have sections for.  The most critical classification people
have asked for separates firmware from other proprietary software; let's
get that implemented rather than putting it off in favor of more

Second, as a point of terminology (and a critical one, *not* a
bikeshed-painting distinction): "free" and "open" refer to the same set
of licenses, and the phrasing you've used would produce massive
confusion.  (The terms differ in what they imply about the views of the
person using them, and in the exact definitions used, but in practice
every license that qualifies as "Open Source" qualifies as "Free
Software" and vice versa.)  "Proprietary software with source available"
does not qualify as either Open Source or Free Software, and we should
not call it either.

I welcome the work currently in progress to establish an archive for
non-free firmware.  And rather than spend a pile of time arguing over
more extensive classifications, I'd rather work on making even more of
non-free obsolete.

- Josh Triplett

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