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Re: non-free firmware: driver in main or contrib?

Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:
>>There are drivers we ship that require you to have a specific version of
>>the firmware in eeprom. In at least one case, it's not possible to
>>provide this without the user returning the card so that extra flash can
>>be attached. Would you class this as dongleware or acceptable behaviour?
> I don't think dongleware like that is free -- if I could remove the
> dongle and the software which checks for it and still have the same
> functionality, then it's free.
> I think that requiring a hardware upgrade to support behavior is
> irrelevant to free software.  Firmware that's part of the hardware is
> part of the hardware.  Firmware that looks like software is software.
> If Debian *could* ship it, it's software.  Stuff requiring
> 3d-acceleration, or the -686 kernels, are all free.

That precisely sums up my position as well.  Thanks for the concise

- Josh Triplett

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