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

On Mon, Oct 25, 2004 at 12:52:19PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Brian, we are talking about identical code.

Are we?

> Software doesn't stop being software if it's burned into a ROM instead
> of being supplied with the OS.

It does, however, cease to be a dependency issue if those who have the
hardware also have the firmware.

> You appear to be claiming that identical code is firmware if it's on a
> chip and software if it's on a CD, and that we should apply different
> standards to each situation. I'm claiming that it's always software, and
> we should apply the same standards to it in all cases.

I don't think he's making this claim for all contexts.

As I see it, the issue we're discussing is dependencies.  In this context:

For practical reasons, we don't require that all users have a piece of
hardware before we distribute software which drives that hardware.

However, we don't bother including that software in main unless all the
software it depends on is free.  If they're not, the software goes in
contrib (or non-free), assuming we distribute it at all.

In this context, we ignore bits which are embedded in the hardware,
but we don't ignore bits that we distribute.

It's really that simple.


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