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Re: Amendment: special exception for firmware because of technical limitations

<posted & mailed>

Josselin Mouette wrote:

> I propose the following amendment to Steve's proposal.
>> THE DEBIAN PROJECT therefore,
>>         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 as a special exception to DFSG #2, the source code
> for device firmwares contained in the kernel packages will not be
> required as long as there are no other technical means to install and
> run the Debian system on these devices.

Seems reasonable....

One practical result of this:

* The tg3 driver would have two of the three embedded firmware images 
removed from 'main'.  They are not necessary for installation or runtime; 
they do add some performance.  The one image which is necessary for certain
rare, old tg3 boards would remain.  (Most tg3 boards don't need any
firmware loaded.)

Because of stuff like this, this amendment would in fact have a different
result from all previous proposals.

> Rationale: most of us want to release etch ASAP, and most of us want to
> remove the firmwares from the kernel ASAP. This is a way that shouldn't
> stop the ongoing work on both of these issues. The wording makes it
> clear that as soon as the kernel and d-i are able to use split out
> firmwares, the migration will have to be done. This way we won't
> discourage the work from Nathanael Nerode and other people who worked
> hard so far to remove the non-free blobs,

Actually, the only thing which seriously discouraged me was when Debian
reverted the patch to convert tg3 to firmware loading and resumed shipping
the BLOBs.  I understand why it was done (the loadable firmware was not
being shipped, because the license hadn't been fixed yet), but it was very
discouraging.  Adding BLOBs which weren't in the previous release is very
discouraging.  (Frankly, I'm waiting until those BLOBs are out of 'main'
again before trying to work on anything else -- sort of waiting for a sign
of good faith, if you will.)  Anything else is not really that

> and we won't hold etch 
> development because of that issue.

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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