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Re: Social Contract GR's Affect on sarge

Brian May <bam@debian.org> writes:

> So, as far as Debian is concerned, if the firmware is on a ROM or
> otherwise hard-coded in the hardware its OK; However it is not OK if
> the firmware has to be distributed with the software?

Debian doesn't distribute non-free software at all, in either case.

> Don't both cases limit the users freedom in the same manner? In fact,
> isn't it the case that with the second case, at least there exists the
> possibility of creating new firmware without tampering with hardware,
> meaning it "enhances freedom"?

No.  The former one limits freedom in a way that no licensing could
change.  The latter one limits it through restrictive non-free
licensing.  We are against restrictive non-free licensing.  We have
made no policy statement about whether it's ok to put something in ROM
or not.

> Do we want to risk sending manufacturers the wrong message in that
> they have to hard-code proprietary firmware on the hardware in order
> to get the hardware accepted by Debian?

They could, perhaps, have their own distribution channel, rather than
expecting us to do their dirty work for them.

Remember the mantra of free software: We don't let non-free software
authors tell us "we have to make this non-free".  They can say that,
but we don't listen; we don't add it to Debian.

What you are forgetting is the number one issue: the software authors
here could, in fact, simply make the software free software.  That's
what we say in every other case too.

> What about DFSG software that *requires* proprietary hardware in order
> to operate? Should this go into contrib?

Nothing wrong with that.  We are about free software, and hardware
issues are outside our scope.

And the reason is easy: licensing rules are not what restrict a person
from changing the hardware.  But licensing rules *are* what restrict
a person from changing the software.  From learning from it, etc.


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