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Re: Bug#686481: Clarification:


On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 02:54:12AM +0100, Ben Hutchings wrote:
> On Thu, 2012-09-06 at 02:32 +0900, Osamu Aoki wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > On Mon, Sep 03, 2012 at 10:24:30AM -0700, Grant H. wrote:
> [...]
> > > Problem: In 9.7.6. "Non-free hardware drivers" states as follows:
> > > ==============================
> > > Although most of hardware drivers are available as free software and as
> > > a part of the Debian system, you may need to load some non-free external
> > > drivers to support some hardwares, such as Winmodem, on your system.
> > > 
> > > Tip
> > > Check available firmware packages with "aptitude search ^firmware" while
> > > enabling the non-free repository.
> > > 
> > > Tip
> > > The NDISwrapper can use Windows XP network drivers natively on Linux.
> > > Check "aptitude search ^ndis".
> > > ==============================
> > 
> > As I see this problem, this is one of the issue for "separation".
> [...]
> There is another problem with the abovetext - it mixes up non-free
> drivers and firmware.  I realise they're both software and we would like
> them both to be free software; that's not what I'm arguing.  My point is
> that it may lead users to confuse drivers and firmware (which leads to
> misfiled bug reports, etc.).

Are you suggesting for me to replace  
 s/hardware drivers/drivers and firmwares of peripheral devices/
 s/external drivers/external drivers and firmwares/

My text may have been a bit sloppy but my intent was to use "hardware
driver" in the broader sense including firmware loading driver code and
its data (i.e., firmware).  I understand in stricter sense, these words
are used as:

 * driver:  code running on the target architecture.
            binary windows XP driver following NDIS is non-free driver
            binary GPU driver offered as kernel module is non-free driver

 * firmware: code or data loaded on the peripheral device
             (These could be rendering code running on GPU, 
             or FPGA/PLD netlist data, ...)

I understand that the current official Debian position is all these are
non-free if they do not come with the SOURCE.  (I personally think
requiring the source for FPGA/PLD netlist data is a bit awkward but I am not
here to argue for this point.)

> The specific references to NDISWrapper and Winmodem also seem rather
> outdated now.

Outdated in what sense.  I understand recent focus of NON-FREE driver is
GPU.  My understanding of GPU driver is:

* Intel GPU (including ones coming in the same chip as CPU):
  FREE driver supported by the vender
  NON-FREE driver supported by the vender
  FREE driver (Tends to be less featureful than NON-FREE driver)

Or outdated because NDIS and Winmodem situation has changed?
I understand recent free atheros drivers are very good shape making
NDISwrapper is not needed for most popular hardwares.  That is true for my
case but I wrote this before such time and I was not sure if it is true
for others having different hardware.  For modem, I never bought
Winmodem nor I use POTS MODEM these days.  So this is carried over for
last 5-8 years.



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