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Re: Making Debian available

On Sunday, January 24, 2021 7:19:58 AM EST Bjørn Mork wrote:
> What we are left with is users who are offended by the mere existence of
> non-free binaries on a Debian image, and who see this as significantly
> worse than the non-free firmware in their NIC, SSD, EC, CPU etc.
The reason why, say, wireless firmware is more serious from a software freedom 
standpoint (and I believe the FSF's stance) is:
1. Unlike with SSD firmware, there are wireless cards that use libre firmware 
and some are still manufactured and quite easy to attain. The goalpost for 
free software moves with what has been achieved.
One used to have to accept using a proprietary BIOS, but not anymore; 
Coreboot/Libreboot have pushed that boundary, so now it's been realized as 
something attainable. When the first libre SSD comes out, then we can worry 
about SSD freedom, because then we'll be able to lend our support.

2. Firmware copied by Debian onto a device's RAM is very easy to change for 
the manufacturer with an update: they get the liquidity of software at their 
disposal. The user doesn't get to take advantage of this, so the manufacturer 
holds a good amount of control over the user, comparable to ordinary software.

Changing the firmware on an EEPROM is far less practical for the user or 
manufacturer (they're on similar footing), and if it's not electronically 
erasable, it's merely an object that can't be practically changed of which 
you'd need to make a new one anyway.

I hope this explains the viewpoints of those opposed to the proprietary 
firmware in installation images, and why they distinguish it from other notions 
of firmware.

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