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Re: Making Debian available

On 2021-01-15 09:35:01 -0800 (-0800), Russ Allbery wrote:
> Jeremy Stanley <fungi@yuggoth.org> writes:
> > Yes, I get that. I don't mind having to go out of my way to update
> > non-free firmware even if it means separately downloading with another
> > machine and sneaker-netting on removable media, it helps keep me honest
> > about what's getting installed and what's necessary (or not).
> Making your life more difficult to remind yourself that you're doing
> something you don't want to do seems like an odd form of self-flagellation
> to me, to be honest, but regardless of my personal opinion I'm happy to
> have Debian cater to this use case anyway since Debian contributors find
> it important.

Sure, my position is not so extreme as that. I didn't say I enjoyed
going out of my way to obtain the packages, just that I don't mind
it as the current alternative to having them installed without my

> > The assertion I was objecting to is that an installer which
> > automatically installs non-free software "works for everyone."
> I don't think you and the original poster are using the same definition of
> the word "works."  I'm fairly sure the original message meant only in the
> technical sense.

Of course, but taken to a logical end a reader could conclude that
if one image "works for everyone" then the other image (which makes
it possible to opt out of non-free packages during installation)
isn't needed. I was merely trying to point out the differences in
possible interpretation of the statement rather than have folks
assume silence implied assent with the broader interpretation.

> I agree with the original proposal to make it easier to find an
> installer that works (technically) on a broader range of systems,

As do I.

> while simultaneously being irritated that non-free nonsense is
> required for most commercially-available systems.  Our current
> approach seems to have an odd logic gap to me:
> 1. Everything should be free software (yes)
> 2. Non-free firmware is not free software (yes)
> 3. Requiring it is a bug (yes)
> 4. Therefore we will make it tedious and annoying to install Debian on
>    systems with that bug (?!)
> 5. ???
> 6. More systems will stop requiring non-free software (profit!)
> We've been wandering around in step 5 for a long time now.  I'm not sure
> it's working.

I've never thought that making it tedious to get Debian working on
some hardware would naturally cause vendors to open up their
firmware, though I've too heard that argument over the years. It's
also not an all-or-nothing proposition. For me at least, it's about
being able to minimize my dependence on proprietary closed-source
software, and being keenly aware when I'm choosing to compromise
that ideal to get something to work, while also trying to be
concious to make my buying choices based on which vendors cater to
this option. In many cases there are components built into my
systems which I don't need nor have any inclination to use, so not
installing support for them is a reasonable option if it means I'm
relying on that much less proprietary software in the end.
Jeremy Stanley

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