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

Marco d'Itri wrote:

> lewis@catbox.co.uk wrote:
>>>>Of course, there's shades of gray, here. If all the driver does is emit
>>>>a message CAN'T FIND NON-FREE FIRMWARE, ABORTING without the firmware,
>>>>it's hard to say that it doesn't depend on the firmware. But if the
>>> This applies to almost every driver in the Linux kernel.
>>Less than 14% of the driver source files in 2.4.26 even mention the word
>>'firmware'. Hardly 'almost every driver'.
> You obviously missed the point. Almost every driver talks to a device
> which needs some kind of firmware, but you obviously noticed the ones
> which do not have it on a non-volatile medium.
> Why should debian adopt a different policy if the vendor provides this
> firmware on a CD instead of on a flash EEPROM chip?

Well, this difference is, as I have said many times, precisely the
difference between software and hardware.  The old Social Contract made an
explicit distinction between software and hardware dependencies.  However,
the new Social Contract does not make an explicit distinction between
software and hardware dependencies, so I'll stop arguing that point until
and unless the SC changes again.  :-)

There is an argument that the whole of Debian belongs in 'contrib' rahter
than 'main' because there is no entirely free (as in speech) machine on
which it can run.  This argument is actually rather convincing to me, and
you are arguing for it rather well.  

People are working on developing a free-as-in-speech CPU, however; GnuRadio
is building a free-as-in-speech tuner card; LinuxBIOS is a
free-as-in-speech BIOS; and so forth.  So this situation will hopefully
change.  I guess we can leave Debian in 'main' temporarily while we try to
fix these dependency holes.  ;-)

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