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Re: non-free firmware

On Wed, Jan 11, 2006 at 12:00:06PM -0500, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> "Firmware" are programs.  They are binary executables designed to run on a 
> CPU.
> Source code is clearly mandatory under the DFSG for programs.
> There is no room for discussion here; the binary-only firmware is clearly 
> non-free.

Well, no, there's always room for discussion.  I agree with what you
mean, though: a lot of firmwares really are unambiguously programs.

I think trying to declare firmware to be "not a program", in order to
permit it in main without including source, is contrived; if Debian wants
to allow firmware without source, it shouldn't use a faulty definition
of "program" to accomplish that.  Instead, it should say what it means:
"we don't require source for this class of program".  It seems much more
honest to answer the question "do we want to require source for firmware
programs?"--and change the DFSG if it disagrees with the project's
conclusion--than to ask "do we want to pretend firmware isn't a program,
so we can ignore the DFSG's source requirements?"

Glenn Maynard

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