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Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware

Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
> I think it's reasonable to refuse to ship non-free code when there's 
> actually a choice or when it's likely to provide an incentive to 
> implement a free version. But right now, I don't see any evidence that 
> refusing to ship non-free firmware will do anything other than cost us 
> users without providing any extra freedom.

The above argument seems to be "If I don't see it, it doesn't matter".  

Of course, evidence is unlikely to appear before the action is taken.  
I doubt any corporation will declare "if debian does this, we'll follow 
the DFSG instead".  Instead, we each get to make our best guesses.

I think the idea that refusing to ship non-free firmware in main will 
strengthen demand for free firmware is worthy of consideration.  Debian 
helps users to take control of their operating system.  Increasing the 
demand for free firmware might also help users to take control of their 
hardware, or at least highlight that there's this crap which their 
operating system uses to support their hardware but doesn't have its 
normal freedoms.

However, I'm undecided whether it's a good idea to exclude them from the 
distribution CDs and so on.  How big is the problem of vital hardware 
which won't work without firmware being copied to it?  Should we split 
non-free into non-free-hardware and non-free, allowing non-free-hardware 
packages onto the CDs?

Thanks for any answers,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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