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

On Mon, Oct 25, 2004 at 11:46:03PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> I see nothing that suggests that "non-free component" is only meant to
> apply to material shipped by Debian. Nor is there any suggestion that it
> applies only to software (which is unsurprising, given the care taken to
> remove all reference to software). How do you claim that the social
> contract allows us to ship any drivers that require non-free firmware,
> even if they're on the PCB?

The status quo, as I understand it, is that firmware which is uploaded
from disk by a driver is a dependency, but firmware embedded in the hardware
is treated as part of the hardware--that's certainly how it looks and acts
to me, as a user.  I believe this is consistent with the SC, though of
course I don't claim it's the only rational way to interpret it.

Marco's argument appears to be that drivers should be allowed in main
that only function if they have access to a non-free firmware blob;
that a driver that, lacking the file, merely bails and says "download
this non-free piece first" should be allowed in main.

Your argument, above, is in the exact other direction: that drivers
which function without supplying any extra data, but that use non-free
data already present on the hardware, should be considered contrib.

I don't buy Marco's argument at all; it looks like just another attempt
to thwart 2004-003, by saying "okay, fine, it's non-free, but I can
still require it!".

I think your interpretation is a rational one, but I havn't seen an
argument of why it's a better one.  It seems clear that this interpretation
would almost no drivers at all, which makes it impractical.

Glenn Maynard

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