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

On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 05:38:07PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 01:28:35AM -0500, Peter Samuelson wrote:
> > [Steve Langasek]
> > > That's an interesting point.  Can you elaborate on how you see this
> > > being a loophole, in a sense that having the firmware on a ROM
> > > wouldn't also be?
> > The day Debian begins to distribute ROM chips, or devices containing
> > ROM chips, I will expect those chips to come with source code.  Until
> > then, this is a red herring.
> Note that while Peter is currently in the n-m queue (on hold pending
> further response to T&S checks apparently), he's not yet a developer,
> and his expectations shouldn't be inferred to be those of the developers
> as a whole.
> Working out whether those expectations match those of the developers as
> a whole is what this GR -- and the discussion preceeding it -- is about.
> I'd strongly discourage people who participate in the discussion (whether
> you've run the n-m gauntlet or not) from dismissing developers' concerns
> about this as a "red herring": if you're right, you shouldn't be afraid to
> discuss the reasons why you're right in detail when asked.

This is a commonly held believe, that many DDs have already used in the past,
and seems quite common sense to me :

  - a firmware hold in a rom or flash is in no way different that a firmware
    hold in a driver binary, as far as DFSG and freeness goes, both are
    usually non-free.

  - debian doesn't ship hardware, so the DFSG can hardly apply to some random
    piece of hardware that the user may have, as it could not apply to let's
    say a copy of the microsoft-office program a user or DD may have on the
    same harddisk he installs debian on.

To add to that, if i where Peter, i may feel slightly offended by the tone of
your reply as well as the content of it. You are the DPL, and as thus speak
with the authority given by the whole project, and i think you should as such
be a more careful in your wording.


Sven Luther

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