Re: LCC and blobs
Glenn Maynard writes:
> On Thu, Jan 06, 2005 at 02:42:50PM -0500, Michael Poole wrote:
> > Brian Thomas Sniffen writes:
> > > No. Firmware resident in RAM but put there by, say, the BIOS is
> > > fine. We've elected not to ignore firmware which is to be handled and
> > > installed by Debian software. You're having trouble making a coherent
> > > position out of this only because you keep recasting it in terms which
> > > aren't equivalent. The issue at hand is whether somebody might ever
> > > download software from Debian and find it useless without additional
> To nitpick: "somebody might ever" is backwards. We don't care if
> somebody might ever find the software useless; what we care about is
> whether everybody will find it useless. Stuff goes in main as long as
> somebody can use it (for some reasonable value of "use", eg. not
> including Marco's contrivances that would imply the elimination of
> contrib entirely).
Anyone with a copy of the firmware and the device being driven may of
course "use" the driver, although I suspect you define that as
unreasonable. The ambiguity of "use" is perhaps why the SC does not
define free software or dependency with that term.
> > > software which he could download... but not from Debian, since it's
> > > not Free and not packaged.
> > Why do you insist on the "downloadable" part of "useless without
> > additional software which he could download"? I see no basis for that
> > qualification in the DFSG or policy. I could manufacture a device
> Well, all software is downloadable (if not necessarily easily or
> legally), so I think that word is a no-op. I think the focus, here,
> is "since it's not Free and not packaged": there seems to be a violation
> of SC#1 if the data should be included in the package for its basic
> use, but isn't for legal/freeness reasons.
The legal reason applies much more to AIM than to Debian. The
freeness issues are where we disagree: I consider the firmware to be
part of the (inherently non-DFSG-free) hardware; you want to treat it
as related only to the driver.
The ICQ server is not free and not packaged. Why does it get a pass?
> > We require licenses to allow inhabitants of a desert island to
> > exercise all their DFSG rights even though they live on a desert
> > island. We should not accept software that becomes useless when used
> > on a desert island.
> Extending the desert island test in this way isn't useful. If you're
> on a desert island, an ICQ client (and a mail client, and bittorrent, and
> lots of other things) isn't useful to you, even if you have a server to
> connect to. The desert island test is about being able to execute
> freedoms in a vacuum; let's leave it there.
I cited an example (which you snipped) where an IM program is useful
in such a vacuum. None of the DFSG require that the general public be
able to use the software -- it is such a fundamental right that it is
assumed -- but you want to leave this isolated user with software that
will not work as designed.