[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Opinion about non-free firmware

[ replying to 2 mails at once ]

On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 02:18:11PM -0800, Don Armstrong wrote:
> The other aspect is that while we think Debian can distribute the
> non-free firmware, we don't make any representation as to whether a
> magazine or business can sell or otherwise distribute media with the
> non-free firmware on it.

Good point.

This disclaimer is indeed quite clear about packages [1]. I wonder
whether we should make it any clearer for non-free images. Out of
curiosity: beside the theoretical possibility of this, are we aware at
present of any firmware that actually has redistribution problems if the
vendor were not Debian?

[1] http://www.debian.org/distrib/packages

On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 08:33:13AM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> I agree, the wording on "separate product" is a bit too much but
> it must be made clear that:
> - the discs are unofficial (only Debian provides official images)
> - they have been modified to included non-free firmwares

Well, yes.

Let me try to express this as a more clear cut criteria. We should
impose that the name "Debian" alone is associated only to images
containing only stuff coming from "main". People shipping images
containing other stuff, such as those available at [2], shall use the
name "Debian + $something", where the most common case will be
something="non-free firmware".

To this end, we can even use the protection offered by the "Debian"

[2] http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/cd-including-firmware/6.0.0/amd64/iso-cd/

> > I think vendors should also take good care of mentioning that the
> > non-free stuff is more risky to run and that the level of support that
> > is offered for it cannot be up to par with free stuff, due to the
> > unavailability of source code.  The wording about support in our
> > announcement [1] about non-free firmware was IMHO quite good and can be
> > probably reused to some extent.
> I don't agree on this. We're not putting a big fat warning "Official DVD
> come without firmwares, due to this Debian might not work on your
> computer" either.
> While it's true that we can't support them, it's a bit of a stretch to say
> it's risky to run when in fact it's needed to run your computer...

It might be risky even if it's needed :-) Seriously and back to your
point, there is a big difference among the two disclaimers: one is about
the risks of using non-free software in general, the other one is about
that risk that the free software we're offering might not be enough to
make your computer work. The scope of Debian is making your computer
work using free software.

In the end however, by comparing the two criteria I've proposed, I agree
that only the first one (about naming) can be a requirement, as we
cannot enforce the second one (about support and risks) on vendors
anyhow. We should take care of communicating properly about it on our
side and AFAICT we're doing that already, starting with the announcement
of Squeeze free kernel.


Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Quando anche i santi ti voltano le spalle, |  .  |. I've fans everywhere
ti resta John Fante -- V. Capossela .......| ..: |.......... -- C. Adams

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: