One non-DD's thoughts on dfsg-freeness and firmware
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I posted this on -devel and got told to post here because it was
off-topic for -devel (which I suppose is true, but I've been reading
- -devel for a few months and most topics on it are off topic, and it's
where I read the messages that lead up to this posting).
I've added a couple of minor comments to my initial message because of
comments on -devel.
>I know previously I said I thought that firmware didn't matter for
>freeness, but I've been convinced by the arguments here [on -devel]
>that I was wrong. Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that as a
>user (who hopes to get time to contribute, maybe even eventually as a
>DD), that I chose Debian because of the Social Contract, and
>DFSG-freeness. I would rather have to watch what hardware I buy then
>lose the benefits of software freedom. For me the whole point of free
>software is not that I can download it free of charge, but that I can
>change it, or hire someone to do so, rather than depending on the good
>will (or same interests), of some large monopolistic corporation.
I realize that hardware includes non-free firmware in rom, but I think
that observation misses the point. Firmware in rom isn't being
distributed by the debian project. The first problem I see with debian
and non-free firmware is the question of provenance; where did it come
from? If it is extracted from a windows driver then legally it is a
potential landmine as it there is no permission even to distribute.
The second problem I see is that if it is part of main, the debian
project is claiming it is dfsg-free, which is most often not the case.
>Software freedom is about choice. That said, there are definite areas
>that need improvement, and which, for many users, overshadow the
>ideals of software freedom. I will soon be facing a tough choice
>between what I value about Debian, and the likely fact of another
>distribution being selected as the local LUG standard (the objective
>of having a standard distro is to make support after an installfest
>more likely and more effective) because of concerns about easy of use,
>especially for new users.
IOW a huge grain of salt applies to my comments, because I am not hard
core debian, and may or may not stick with debian (I've used it for
years, and the politics are important to me, but I'm undecided about
whether that's enough in the face of noob-friendliness problems.
Another factor is what I can find out about other distros'
legal and/or political situations).
Please cc as I am not subscribed to -vote (as I am not a dd and can't
GnuPG Key Fingerprint 86 F5 81 A5 D4 2E 1F 1C http://gnupg.org
And that's my crabbing done for the day. Got it out of the way early,
now I have the rest of the afternoon to sniff fragrant tea-roses or
strangle cute bunnies or something. -- Michael Devore
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