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

On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 07:25:10PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
> > 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.
> The above argument seems to be "If I don't see it, it doesn't matter".  
> Of course, evidence is unlikely to appear before the action is taken.  
> I doubt any corporation will declare "if debian does this, we'll follow 
> the DFSG instead".  Instead, we each get to make our best guesses.
> I think the idea that refusing to ship non-free firmware in main will 
> strengthen demand for free firmware is worthy of consideration.  Debian 
> helps users to take control of their operating system.  Increasing the 
> demand for free firmware might also help users to take control of their 
> hardware, or at least highlight that there's this crap which their 
> operating system uses to support their hardware but doesn't have its 
> normal freedoms.
> However, I'm undecided whether it's a good idea to exclude them from the 
> distribution CDs and so on.  How big is the problem of vital hardware 
> which won't work without firmware being copied to it?  Should we split 
> non-free into non-free-hardware and non-free, allowing non-free-hardware 
> packages onto the CDs?

I would indeed vote for a solution including a non-free hardware, or even
better an additional CD, which contained a non-free version of d-i (which need
to include certain non-free firmwares and drivers in the images), and all the
additional non-free firmware stuff.

This way, we could add a list of pci ids needding non-fre hardware, and do a
check pretty early in the installer, and if those non-free hardware is found,
inform the user about it, and use the non-free installer CD instead, and all
the rest would be taken care for him.


Sven Luther

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