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

On Wed, 23 Aug 2006 14:11:39 +0200 (CEST), Marco d'Itri <md@Linux.IT> said: 

> srivasta@debian.org wrote:
>> Why is freedom of software only important for the central
>> processing unit, but immaterial for other processing usints?
> Who said it's not important? I believe it is, just that it's not a
> battle which should be pursued by Debian by not distributing
> sourceless firmwares.  It is clear that by banning firmwares from
> Debian we harm our users (easily verifiable) much more than we help
> the cause of free software (it's hard to prove that it would be of
> any help, and the burden of proof lies on who supports it).

        I would have no problems with that, as long as we did not
 weasel around it by redefining words. Now, I would supporyt the
 decision if Debian actually was forthright about the opinion you
 express (I disagree, but that is just a difference of opinion).  If
 we want to express that some class of software can be in main despite
 there not being the source or preferred form of modification, then we
 should say so -- in the document that promises that programs, even
 code that is not executed by the primary processor -- will be free.

>> And, given the trend of multiple processing usints, and not all of
>> them being symmetric (the cell, for example, the central processing
>> unit serves as little more than a traffic cop), with processing
>> increadsingly off loaded to the graphics processing unit, physics
>> processing units, encryption processors, biometrics processors,
>> peripheral processing units, we should be careful about how we
>> define processing units for which software freedom in unimportant/
> OK. Let's get back to this when it will be a problem.

        Firstly, general resolutions are expensive, and we should not
 do one just to turn arund almost immediately -- since the cell
 processor will be released within a year in the form of the PS3, and
 cell based PC's are just around the corner. We already have graphical
 processing units, physics processing unit, and various comminication
 units etc in production now.

>> Si, am I silly and alone in thinking that firmware is binary
>> computer programs? Let us ask google to define: firmware:

> You are silly in pretending that the DFSG and the widely shared
> consensus among developers always intended considering them non-free
> and inappropriate for main.

        Calling me silly for reading the social contract which was
 editorially changed by a supermajority of developers in the project
 to say that every bit in main shall be free does you little credit.

>> So, unless otherwise stated, the foundation document terms refer to
>> commonly understood meanings of words; looking to dictionaries,
>> encyclopedias, and common references.

> I'd say that they refer to the meaning commonly accepted by
> developers.

        I would say that if the definition commonly accepted by the
 developers is at odds with textbooks, references, and technical
 dictionaries, then I think we should mention our "special" definition
 in the document where it is used, in order not to be deceptive?

A conservative is one who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run.
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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