Hi, Goswin von Brederlow schrieb:
But does it have any use without the non-free firmware? Only then can you close an eye and let it stay in main due to its other functions.
Yes: Loading free firmware. Whether such a thing exists is largely irrelevant; for the loader, it is just data, and we do not discriminate on fields of endeavour (i.e. it is fine to copy your non-free data around as you like it, even into your hardware if you so choose).
A downloader package is a bit of grey area; much like a typical "contrib" package, it has some more-or-less hardcoded string that points to non-free data; it does not, however, depend on anything outside of main to function (since main is enough to get a network up and running, and the web service, while not dealing with free software, is not Debian's concern as it is only between the user and the company publishing the data files).
The real problem with firmware in my opinion is that it ignites a flamewar between people that don't really care whether they have free software as long as it works, and free software purists that want to be able to change their entire system, including the firmware. The former group usually emphasizes that "our priority are our users", the latter "our priority is free software".
We have yet to find a sane middle ground; largely because it would probably be "display a dialog educating the user that they are now leaving the wonderful world of free software where you can expect the development team to consist of actual humans that reply to bug reports, and entering the evil corporate dystopia where emails are answered by 'your opinion is very important to us'" -- and this would upset both groups ("You zealots should not pester the users with your ideology all the time" vs. "Yeah, as if somebody read all those messages").
Good ideas welcome. Simon
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