[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Making Debian available

Am Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 07:28:07PM +0100 schrieb Philipp Kern:
> On 24.01.21 17:08, John Scott wrote:
> > 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.
> LVFS is a thing now (kudos to Richard Hughes) and firmware updates can
> nowadays be pretty seamless, even on Linux. So I don't think I agree
> that EEPROM updates are far less practical. And I think I'd still prefer
> if the kernel pushes the (driver-)appropriate firmware to the device as
> it sees fit rather than having explicit EEPROM update cycles independent
> from driver updates.
> > 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.
> I guess to make your point stronger you could also have linked to those
> products that work with libre firmware. A brief research then finds two
> abgn cards from Atheros that is not available through normal retail
> channels anymore, because they are 8 to 10 years old (at least) and do
> not support contemporary wifi standards. And the same research turns up
> that it took many years from the point were it existed (2013) until it
> got uploaded to Debian (2017) and released (2019). I think its existence
> is super interesting from a research point of view. But I don't think it
> makes a strong case for availability of libre firmware for wifi cards.
> Especially if you care about spectral efficiency, i.e. using a shared
> medium efficiently.

AFAIK those adapters are of the past. Nowerdays (FCC) regulations require
some tamper protection, so people can no longer operate their Wifi with
illegal parameters. [1]. All those parameters are usually controlled by the
firmware of the device.

[1] https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2339685/fcc-software-security-requirements.pdf

Regardless, our potential users will very likely not have those devices in
their laptop.

I guess the will just swear, saying Debian sucks, and move along to some other
distribution which potentially does not give user freedoms the same priority.

At least that was some feedback I've received IRL.

IMHO this is a lost opportunity, as we can't educate those about the importance
of FLOSS anymore*. Users also regularily start spreading the word, maybe even
starting contributing to the project and possibly becoming a part of the
movement and project.** Shouldn't be that our ulitmate goal?***

* (e.g I didn't know much about FLOSS when I started using Debian. With limited
  budget as student, "free as in beer" it was.

** That reads a lot like my personal story, because this is how it happened. If
 I couldn't get Debian installed at that time (pre Wifi-times), I probably would
 not be here typing this.

*** to be clear: this does not mean that people not wanting to touch
 non-free-stuff with a 3m pole should be forced to do so. Of course,
 this should be opt-in not opt-outM but we currentyl at "almost impossible
 [for novice users] to find the non-free images / or almost impossible to use
 the firmware loading feature of the free one.)

Just my 2 cents.


Reply to: