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Re: LCC and blobs

Måns Rullgård <mru@inprovide.com> writes:

> Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> writes:
>>> But what if loading the firmware is not required?
>>> That if the device was
>>> "warm-booted" in another OS? (I know there are technical limitations
>>> here) Would the driver-firmware relation still be a "depends"?
>> No, then the driver Depends: firmware | other-os .  We don't ship
>> either, so the driver still needs to go to contrib. :)  And presumably
>> other-os depends (though not in the Debian package sense) on the
>> firmware as well, so even if that other OS was Free and we shipped it,
>> we'd be back to needing the firmware.
> What if every unit of this hardware included a CD with the required
> firmware?  Then anyone in owning the hardware would also have the
> firmware, without Debian needing to touch it.  For those not owning
> the hardware, the driver is obviously useless anyway.

Is the CD in a little sleeve with a "you accept the licence when you
break the plastic" sticker, like the IBM printer driver CD in front of
me and currently torturing me with its obscure placement of PPD files?

It doesn't matter if the manufacturer includes the CD.  If I buy the
card on eBay, the original owner may not have a license to
redistribute the firmware to me.

> Yes, I'm deliberately being a little extreme here, but I see no
> fundamental difference between requiring the user to possess some data
> and requiring the user to possess a physical object.

One is software, which Debian could ship, and the other is hardware,
which Debian cannot ship.  Software has no inherent limitation on its
duplication and distribution -- copying bits and shipping them about
is essentially free.  Duplicating and distributing objects is hard
enough to be the basis of our economy.

Free software, free data, are inherently different and useful concepts
without needing to free all hardware.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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