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

> Raul Miller <moth@debian.org> wrote:
> > It does strike me as a bit mad, to suggest that hardware vendors are
> > going to be redesign their hardware, to move a driver from debian contrib
> > to main.
> >
> > If it were that important to them, they'd should have done it right in
> > the first place.

On Mon, Oct 25, 2004 at 03:13:53PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Where does "right" come from?

That quip was a comment on the straw-man scenario where hardware vendors
were redesigning their products to move a driver for that hardware from
debian contrib to main.

And, if that seems nonsensical to you, you're right -- or, at least,
that scenario seems rather nonsensical to me.  Debian currently doesn't
represent the kind of market which could lead to this kind of situation.

> You're continuing to imply that hardware that has firmware in ROM is
> somehow more free than hardware that requires firmware to be loaded
> by the OS.

That may be the implication you are reading into what I wrote, but that
implication has little to do with my point of view.

Hardware is non-free, in the sense that it can't be freely copied.
There are reasons for this, including conservation of mass, and the
rather significant amounts of mass involved in hardware.

> Neither is the "right" solution - it depends on your requirements.

s/Neither is/Both are/

> > Oh, wait, maybe you're suggesting that they had some OTHER reason for
> > putting those bits in rom?  If that's the case, your claim that it
> > doesn't help our users is a bit specious.  
> >
> > [Or, more succinctly, how about we discuss real cases rather than
> > straw men.]
> Customers make strange demands. As a result of tooling up for a single
> production run, it might then become cheaper for them to use the same
> design for the generic consumer part.
> Anyway. You didn't answer my question: is your definition of dependency
> based on who ships the firmware, or is it based on the medium which
> contains the firmware?

The answer to your question is:  "No.  My definition of dependency is
not based on either."

My definition of dependency is based on the requirements of a free
operating system.  My definition of dependency is totally focussed on
software issues, and only touches on firmware tangentially.

If firmware is presented in software form, then I have to treat it
as software.

If firmware is presented in hardware form, then I'm free to ignore it as
"not software".  Of course, if "firmware in hardware" was being something
obtrusive I might not be able to ignore it.  So far, that's not been
much of an issue.  [Game cartridges might be an example of obtrusive


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