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

Steve Langasek wrote:
>          The application of DFSG#2 to firmware and other data
>          ====================================================
> The Debian Project recognizes that access to source code for a work of
> software is very important for software freedom, but at the same time
> "source" is often not a well-defined concept for works other than those
> traditionally considered "programs".  The most commonly cited definition is
> that found in version 2 of the GNU GPL, "the preferred form of the work for
> making modifications to it," but for non-program works, it is not always
> clear that requiring this "source" as a precondition of inclusion in main
> is in the best interest of our users or advances the cause of Free Software:
>   - The author's preferred form for modification may require non-free tools
>     in order to be converted into its final "binary" form; e.g., some
>     device firmware, videos, and graphics.
>   - The preferred form for modification may be orders of magnitude larger
>     than the final "binary" form, resulting in prohibitive mirror space
>     requirements out of proportion to the benefits of making this source
>     universally available; e.g., some videos.
>   - The "binary" and "source" forms of a work may be interconvertible with no
>     data loss, and each may be the preferred form for modification by
>     different users with different tools at their disposal; e.g., some
>     fonts.
> While the Debian Free Software Guidelines assert that source code is a
> paramount requirement for programs, they do not state that this is the case
> for non-program works, which permits us to consider whether one of the above
> points justifies a pragmatic concession to the larger context within which
> Free Software operates.
>         1. reaffirms its dedication to providing a 100% free system to our
> users according to our Social Contract and the DFSG; and
>         2. encourages authors of all works to make those works available not
> only under licenses that permit modification, but also in forms that make
> such modifications practical; and
>         3. supports the decision of the Release Team to require works such as
> images, video, and fonts to be licensed in compliance with the DFSG without
> requiring source code for these works under DFSG #2; and
>         4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware
> shall also not be considered a program.

I have some problems, publically saying that binary firmware blobs
that most probably contain a lot of small programs "shall also not be
considered a program" (regardless of "a" or "several").  We're not
saying Pi is 3.14 either.

We do know that there are programs included in binary firmware blobs
most of the time after all.

How about the following instead?

	  4. supports the decision of the Release Team to require device firmware
to be licensed in compliance with the DFSG without requiring source code for
possibly enclosed software.

I could imagine to say acknowledge that Debian consideres it ok to include
binary firmware blobs without their source to code to be licenced DFSG-free.



Never trust an operating system you don't have source for!

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