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

Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:

> 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.

I think it's the only rational way to interpret it that's consistent
with the discussion surrounding the GR. The entire point of changing the
social contract was to make it clear that the DFSG were supposed to be
used on everything that Debian shipped or required on, rather than it
being limited to "software".

> 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.

I'm fairly unconcerned about Marco's argument.

> 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.

If a logical interpretation of the social contract results in an
impractical situation and no practical situation can be reached without
some contortions of logic, it implies that the social contract doesn't
say what we mean it to say and should be changed.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.legal@srcf.ucam.org

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