Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware
Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 02:44:48PM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
>> On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 06:08:08AM -0600, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
>> > I think the key distinction (as far as I'm concerned) is that Debian
>> > isn't producing a distribution for the microcontroller in my
>> > fibrechannel card, it's producing a distribution for my computer.
>> > In order to make my fibrechannel card work, it has to poke some bits
>> > in a documented way. Even if there happens to be an ARM onboard that
>> > card that's running a program, that ARM isn't running Debian.
>> One of the purposes of having access to the prefered form of
>> modification, is to be able to fix bugs.
> Certainly, it's one of the purposes. But I don't think we've *lost*
> anything by distributing binary firmware.
Certainly not. That's what non-free is for, and I am in full support of
distributing binary-only firmware in non-free. As long as it's properly
licensed, which most of the stuff at issue isn't. :-/
> Consider the cases:
> 1. Everything in hardware. You're not able to fix anything without a
> soldering iron ... and good luck to you with that.
> 2. Unmodifiable firmware in EEPROM. Need an EEPROM programmer, and a
> good deal of skill to fix anything. Again, best of luck.
> 3. Binary-only firmware in the driver. Slightly better chance of trying
> to figure out what's going on, but still low.
> 4. Firmware source in non-preferred form. Modifications probably
> possible, but when the next round of changes come out from the
> vendor, you probably have to ditch your mods.
> 5. Firmware source in preferred form. Can send changes back to vendor,
> everybody wins.
> (and I'm sure people can think of other finer distinctions).
> You seem to want to disallow cases 3 and 4
... in main. Non-free exists for this.
> which makes sense from a
> "here are the rules of data freedom, now i must follow them" point of
> view, but really don't make sense to the vendor, nor to the user. It
> seems like an all-or-nothing approach.
Well, if you don't realize that non-free exists to make exactly this
Nathanael Nerode <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...