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

> > That said, it sounds like the drivers do behave differently depending on
> > the firmware -- you've asserted that the difference is not of interest
> > to the driver, but that's not at all the same as asserting that there
> > is no difference.

On Tue, Oct 26, 2004 at 01:47:06PM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
> The drivers really do nothing differently based on the firmware[1].

In the sense that providing a -1 is no different from providing a 0,
or in the sense that providing a 100k message is no different from
providing an empty string, sure -- no difference at all.

It's a matter of point of view.

> > If that's clear, but you think that something else makes more sense,
> > maybe you could talk about what the consequences of your point of view
> > would be on Debian?  Changes which advance our goals are good things.
> Drivers that talk to firmware-requiring devices would be allowed in
> main, rather than in kernel modules or patches kept outside Debian
> proper.  The firmware files themselves would have to be provided by
> the user or in non-free, unless they qualify under the DFSG[2].  I
> believe this is the direction being taken for the Linux kernel in
> general (to not contain opaque blobs, but to provide a facility to
> load them when needed).

And what are the consequences to Debian with this choice?

In particular, what freedoms do you think it is acceptable for us to
require of any "opaque blobs" that we would be distributing with main?

Is it acceptable for us to require that reverse engineering be allowed
of things we distribute with main?

Is it acceptable for us to be able to ship updated copies when the changes
come from someone with no legal approval from the original author of these
"opaque blobs"?

Is it acceptable for us to distribute "opaque blobs" which can only be
used in educational settings, or which require registration before they
can be unlocked?

Are you saying that you want us to ship opaque blobs where we take no
responsibility whatsoever for their character?



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