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Re: Winmodems in debian

Andrew Zajac <arzajac@gmail.com> schrieb:

> The scanmodem script.
> http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/packages/scanModem.gz
> I have emailed the maintainer of the script and he seemed excited
> about releasing this utility to debian.  Perhaps he will ask for
> sponsorship for his package himself.
> In regards to such a utility, would it be appropriate to package it on
> it's own or should it be integrated with discover or hotplug?

I think if it is just about this script, and the maintainer of discover
is willing to include it, why not. But if you're going for a package
that does mor than just provide device information (include lots of
winmodem documentation, present appropriate download sites, locally
create Debian packages on-the-fly or whatever), then a package of its
own might be appropriate, too.

> How are
> the conflicting IDs handled in this case.

Well, it cannot do anything automatically. This is why I think discover
is probably more appropriate than hotplug (but I don't know more about
those packages than their long description).

> Are there issues with the
> hardware drivers being non-free - If some hardware will never be used
> in a free environment, is it relevant to be able to detect it using a
> base system?

I think this is not a problem at all. Debian is a free Operating System
- while it would be really nice to have Free Hardware, this is currently
not Debian's concern. Therefore I would say that as long as your
prospective package only tries to give the user information, and direct
him to the right places, it can go into Debian.

Things get different, of course, when there are distributable,
non-DFSG-free winmodem drivers in non-free - then your package would
probably declare Depends or Recommends on them, and would have to go to

> There are at least three other modem chipsets whose drivers I think
> can be realisticaly packaged for debian.
> The Lucent chipset [...]
> The PCTel chipset [...]
> The Intel chipset.  This driver seems to be all source with no
> precompiled object files.

Which does not necessarily mean it is Free Software...

> Conexant chipsets are supported by proprietary drivers sold by www.linuxant.com.
> The driver packages downloaded by themselves work at a limited
> 14.4kps.  A code token needs to be purchased and entered into their
> utility to increase the thoughput to the full 56k.  I do not think
> that these packages should be distributed by debian.  But that is my
> personal opinion.  Maybe others would find it useful to have even
> 14.4kps?  I do not know.

For sure they cannot be part of Debian, but I would say if somebody is
interested in maintaining them, why not provide packages - either in
non-free or in a personal repository? The fact that they are reduced in
speed is impudence to their customers, but since they are non-free in
the first place, it doesn't make a difference, legally.

> I am sorry if this is the wrong place to ask these questions, but I
> guess I am looking for a place to start.

For some of the issues, debian-legal may be a good place, too (I don't
read it, so don't take the comments above as "right" or widely

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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