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Re: Making Debian available





On 25/01/2021 07:22, Tobias Frost wrote:
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.


I agree with this point, even if we don't contribute code, we can contribute in other ways, by spreading the word and making sure people get as positive experience as possible. More difficult in a pandemic but lets do what we can. Build a stronger community.

According to vrms

vrms
              Non-free packages installed on HP-Mini

firmware-brcm80211 Binary firmware for Broadcom/Cypress 802.11 wireless c

               Contrib packages installed on HP-Mini

rocksndiamonds                      arcade-style game

  1 non-free packages, 0.1% of 1828 installed packages.
  1 contrib packages, 0.1% of 1828 installed packages.

I don't think 0.1 percent of my packages being non free software is bad going really.


Keep up the good work.

Paul


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