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Re: LCC and blobs

On Thu, Jan 06, 2005 at 09:36:10PM -0500, Michael Poole wrote:
> "Depends" and "Build-Depends" are not necessarily the entirety of the
> Social Contract's idea of dependency.

We're not saying they are.  (For example, that would imply that the tech
ctte would have a great deal of power over the DFSG; they don't.)  It's
just a useful guideline, and a good starting point for what the SC's
"depends"/"requires" means.

> > Right now, we don't require clients to Depends:, Recommends:, or
> > Build-Depends: on servers.
> We don't require drivers to Depends:, Recommends: or Build-Depends: on
> hardware, either.

... which I think is consistent with the use of Depends: as a guideline
for SC#1.  I believe neither requiring hardware nor requiring access to
a remote server is a violation of the spirit of SC#1.

> I disagree that the driver would Depends: on the firmware.

Well, maybe we're coming closer to the root of our disagreement.  I
thought it was self-evident that, if a driver is packaged (on its own[1]),
and firmware for that device was packaged (on its own), and the hardware
must be sent the firmware by the driver to do anything, that the driver
package would Depends: on the firmware.

> As "web applications" and other distributed programs become more
> common, we will run into more and more problematic divisions between
> the two endpoints.  I believe they should be treated consistently
> regardless of the communication bus between the Debian software and
> what it talks to.

If there's a parallel between ICQ servers and hardware, it seems to me
that the ICQ server is like a physical hardware device which requires
no firmware.

If (all) ICQ servers required that I send it a copy, as a bitstream, of
Dune before doing anything useful, then Dune seems like firmware.  The client
wouldn't be useful without a copy of Dune (unless some servers don't require
it--eg. hardware devices with the firmware in flash), and I'd expect the
client to Depends: dune, moving it to contrib if it's not packaged or in

I'm open to any examples of client/server applications which require
copyrightable non-free bits to be sent to the server by the client, that
aren't as contrived as the above, to aid discussion.

[1] compilations of drivers, such as the Linux kernel, may or may not
be different; let's ignore that for sanity of discussion for the moment

Glenn Maynard

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