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Re: Theo de Raadt On Firmware Activism

Andrew Pollock writes:

> On Wed, Nov 03, 2004 at 10:30:10PM +0000, Martin Michlmayr - Debian Project Leader wrote:
> > http://kerneltrap.org/node/view/4118
> > 
> Kudos to Theo for OpenBSD getting out and poking the vendors. My concern is
> that for all their effort, and potential flow on benefits to Linux, it won't
> be considered good enough for Debian because of the current stance on
> firmware, and source code to it...
> Where did we get up to with that anyway, binary blobs are out, end of story?

Binary-only firmware must go into non-free: users (and Debian itself)
do not get the freedoms identified in the DFSG and cannot correct bugs
or deficiencies in the firmware.  Firmware that includes source but
which cannot be built within Debian might be able to go into contrib;
I am not aware of any firmware like that.

There was a recent debate on debian-legal about the status of drivers
for devices that can or must use firmware, as opposed to the firmware
itself; this is relevant when the driver provides a mechanism to load
external firmware.  Some argue that these drivers can go into main on
the basis of the abstract interface to the device; some argue that the
drivers must go into contrib on the basis that the device is not
functional without the firmware, and the driver is not functional
without the device.

Michael Poole

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