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

Joe Smith wrote:

> "Anthony Towns" <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote in message
> 20060823140553.GA15284@azure.humbug.org.au">news:20060823140553.GA15284@azure.humbug.org.au...
>>The middle one's the one of interest, it's expressed in the first point
>>of the social contract as:
>>    "We will never make the system require the use of a non-free
>>     component."
>>(For reference, that replaced the following text from v1.0 of the social
>>    "[...] we will never make the system depend on an item of non-free
>>     software."
> [blink]!
> Clearly we cannot possibly be upholding that statement. There is simply no
> computer
> of fully free hardware and software. Even if there were, I'm betting
> Debian would require
> extensive modifications to run on it.

I was hoping at one time to propose a GR to weaken it.  However, I wanted to
get the clarifications to the SC, which were not supposed to change its
meaning, through, before we started proposing changes which actually *did*
deliberately change its meaning....

> That was clearly a poor change of wording, although it was likely not
> noticed because nobody was thinking
> gardware when they read that.
True.  Unfortunately, Debian was never exactly upholding the original
version either; it was also bad wording.  The accidental change there isn't
really much of a change because of this.  The place where they might mean
different things is the case of chip designs, non-programmable ROM
contents, and stuff like that.

But as of today, every piece of hardware which runs the Debian system
includes some non-free software (loadable 'firmware') anyway: usually the
BIOS at a minimum.  Although the ARM NSLU2 projects may be changing this
situation.  (As for chip designs, if Debian ever got ported to OpenSparc,
that is free hardware; frankly it seems that the chip designs are opening
up at least as fast as the BIOSes, so I don't see any real loss in this

Anyway, my plan was to weaken it to state something vaguely like:
"We will never make the system require the use of a non-free component,
except for those components which are shipped as part of the hardware the
system runs on (such as the BIOS).  We will strive to make the system not
require those components either, by supporting free alternatives as they

Neither am I.

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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