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Re: LCC and blobs

On Tue, Dec 28, 2004 at 04:26:26PM +1100, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> Yet the ICQ client is not useful without a component which is not in
> Debian and in fact is not freely available.

Nor is a driver useful without a piece of hardware which isn't in

Of course, license permitting, Debian *could* distribute the ICQ
server, but it's not necessary for the normal use of the client,
since connecting to remote servers is the typical, expected use of
the client.

That's the basic element of this discussion: where is the line of a
"requirement", to satisfy the SC's "will not require"?  There are
many places the line can be drawn, and more than one of them are
internally consistent.

I'm just showing how it's consistent to allow an ICQ client without
an ICQ server, while not allowing a driver without firmware or an
emulator without a ROM: the driver and the emulator are fundamentally
incomplete without the ROM image--users will install it, it won't work,
they'll grumble, read the documentation and install the non-free
piece.   The ICQ client is not incomplete without providing a server,
since the server isn't generally within the scope of the operating
system; it's on the internet, and that's where it's naturally expected
to be.  It seems natural to allow ICQ clients; it seems contrived and
inconsistent to allow the drivers.

Again, I don't really object to these drivers being present as part
of a kernel, or a driver compilation; the set as a whole does work,
and the nonfunctioning driver just seems like an optional feature that
doesn't work, just as programs in main are allowed to use non-free
shared libraries, as long as it's optional.

> If the emulators were extended to be able to fetch some basic ROM images 
> off the internet by themselves (eg via HTTP), could they go in main?

This doesn't seem any different than "installer" packages; it seems like
they should go in contrib for the same reasons.

Glenn Maynard

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