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

> Brian Thomas Sniffen <bts@alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> > Sure it does.  The Debian Free Software Guidelines only apply to
> > software.  Hardware is hard, not soft.

On Thu, Oct 28, 2004 at 12:40:02PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> That's an unfortunate circumstance of naming. Anything that we could
> potentially ship has to be considered as software - the aspects of
> hardware that we're discussing are instructions that are run by a
> processor, and we could extract those and copy them into the
> distribution. Software doesn't stop being software once it's copied into
> ROM, even if you'd prefer it to be called hardware.

It's also a circumstance of content, which is why the DFSG uses the word
software so many times, and why it concerns itself with software licenses.

Software which we don't and can't ship, which is a part of the platform
we're running on, which is not application code, and which basically is
outside the scope of the project is software we ignore.

> The social contract uses "require", which is a stronger term than
> policy's "depend".


> The driver software requires the portion of the
> hardware that can also be described as software.

The sentece which uses the word require is:

   We will never make the system require the use of a non-free component.

While it's clear from context that "non-free" refers to "non-free
software", it's also clear that it's "components" which are what need to
be free.  It's also clear from contenxt that "components" are "components
of the debian system.

Among other things, you're arguing that hardware [including software
embedded in that hardware] is a component of the debian system (rather
than being a part of its infrastructure).

But we do not ship hardware, and software embedded in hardware is out
of scope for us.


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