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

On Wed, 23 Aug 2006 14:59:37 +0100, Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk> said: 

> Jacobo Tarrio <jtarrio@trasno.net> wrote:
>> El miércoles, 23 de agosto de 2006 a las 21:24:16 +1000, Anthony
>> Towns escribía:
>>> We choose to apply the DFSG both to the components that the Debian
>>> system requires, and to what we use to provide debian.org
>>> services. It can be
>> No, the DFSG are applied to what's provided by Debian, not to what
>> it's required by it.

> The DFSG apply to "The Debian system". The social contract doesn't
> define what "The Debian system" is. We could define it as "What's
> shipped by Debian", but we could also define it as "A system
> consisting of a computer and a Debian installation" or "Whatever is
> provided by Debian and run on the host processor".

        That would be acceptable -- as long as we define the "Debian
  system" this way in the social contract.

On Wed, 23 Aug 2006 15:40:49 +0100, Matthew Garrett
<mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk> said:  

> We never included non-free applications in main because we felt that
> there was no need to. And, indeed, even in 1993 it was possible to
> use a computer without any non-free applications.

> That doesn't hold with the firmware argument. With applications, we
> had the choice between "Free but less functional" and "Non-free but
> more functional". With firmware we have the choice between "Non-free
> but on disk" and "Non-free but in ROM". There isn't a "Free" option
> at all yet.

> So I think the real question is "How does us refusing to ship
> non-free firmware help free software?". If a user wants to use
> Debian, then the obvious thing for them to do will be to buy
> hardware that has the non-free firmware in ROM. Ironically, this
> will actually make it harder for them to ever use free firmware!

> I think it's reasonable to refuse to ship non-free code when there's
> actually a choice or when it's likely to provide an incentive to
> implement a free version. But right now, I don't see any evidence
> that refusing to ship non-free firmware will do anything other than
> cost us users without providing any extra freedom.

        While I disagree with this assessment, I think it would be
 reasonable to vote on amending the social contract to reflect
 this pragmatic compromise (I hope the proposal would lose, but there
 is nothing unethical about deciding to change our stance on freedom
 of firmware programs). 

        But it would have to be done upfront, by modifying the social
 contract to reflect our newly determined views.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because
of course you never do."-- Gregory Bateson
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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