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

On Mon, 2004-10-25 at 14:51 -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:
> > There's no interesting functional difference between these two things,
> > except that in one case the driver has to make a call to load the
> > firmware and in the other case it doesn't.
> And that is a functional difference: in one case the owner of the
> device who has downloaded some Debian software has to go get some
> other software and load it onto his machine; in the other case he
> doesn't.

So if the user already has that data on his machine (perhaps the
manufacturer put it there), the driver could go in main?

No, the above isn't a straw-man argument. In a large number of cases,
the machine will have a Windows partition containing the firmware. The
package could easily drop in infrastructure to load that.

As a thought experiment, if the eeprom in the device presented itself as
a flash block device, and the firmware was contained on an ext2
filesystem, and the driver had to mount that to load the firmware, would
the driver live in contrib or main? How about if the firmware was on a
CD? How about if the firmware was on a CD and the device had a slot
specifically for a firmware CD? If I build myself a modified version of
various bits of hardware which contain the firmware in eeproms, can the
driver be shifted into main?

You keep arguing that there's a clear line here. I don't believe that to
be the case.
Matthew Garrett | mjg59@srcf.ucam.org

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