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

"Marco d'Itri" <md@Linux.IT> writes:

> evan@debian.org wrote:
>>Anyways, here's the relevant quote:
>>        "Examples of packages which would be included in contrib or 
>>        non-US/contrib are: [...] free packages which require contrib,
>>        non-free packages or packages which are not in our archive at
>>        all for compilation or execution, "
>>As I said, there's some wiggle room on what "require... for compilation
>>or execution" means. But not a lot.
> As I explained, I do not think that "execution" covers what may or may
> not happen in a different program in a different CPU.

So if I build some cluster or multi-processor machine, and run free
software on one processor and non-free software on the other, would
Debian ship the free part?

I think the answer is that it depends on what the free part does and
what the non-free part does and how much dependency there is between
them, and how much standardization of protocols.

> The purpose of a device driver is controlling a device, and these
> drivers are fully capable of doing this without the need of anything
> else. This is the same situation of IM programs.

That's not a black and white identity.  It's a spectrum.  Free clients
with no free server are somewhere on that, EEPROM firmware is on that,
hardwired firmware in ROM is on that, uploaded firmware is on that,
even the cluster machine above is on that.  Debian's drawn a line at
one point.  Arguments that the line should be extended to cover the
whole spectrum because any point's been included are unpersuasive.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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