> It's been a week, and the results from the three polls concerning
> what to do about firmware are currently:
> What is the most important for the release of Etch? (202 votes)
>  Release on time (early december) 57%
> Support hardware that requires sourceless firmware 26%
> Do not ship sourceless firmware in main 15%
> Since it appears Debian has to make a choice, which would you
> prefer we do for etch? (197 votes) 
> Allow sourceless firmware in main 63%
> Delay the release of etch (so that we can support 18%
> loading firmware from non-free)
> Drop support for hardware which requires sourceless 17%
> Developer only poll: (83 votes) 
> Option 1 "Release etch on time"
> defeats option 3 by 23 votes (51:28)
> defeats option 2 by 52 votes (67:15)
> defeats option 4 by 71 votes (76: 5)
> Option 3 "Support hardware that requires sourceless firmware"
> defeats option 2 by 39 votes (60:21)
> defeats option 4 by 69 votes (74: 5)
> Option 2 "Do not ship sourceless firmware in main"
> defeats option 4 by 41 votes (59:18)
> Option 4 "None of the above"
> comes last
> Obviously each of those polls only includes a self-selected minority
> of the people they try to cover, but the results seem fairly
> consistent both with each other, and what's been discussed so far on
> this list.
Erm. I'm not sure self-selecting is what I'd call it. Was this poll
announced on debian-user? usenet? This is the first I've heard of
it. I'm a debian user and I'd sorta have like to have been counted on
this one since.
Think about it. What kind of users are going to go to a web forum for
help? What kind to irc? Usenet and mailing lists? This was not a
The web forum is naturally going to have a higher proportion new
users and desktop users than usenet and the mailing lists. This
crucial fact puts a definite skew on the results. By not soliciting
users outside the web forum you have polled a demographic sample of
only a subset of debian users. For example I'd think that network
admins and developers are much less likely to be counted, two of the
most important groups in terms of what they give back to debian.
These results are meaningless. I'll leave it to others to decide if
this was an error of ineptitude or manipulation. If it was deliberate,
it's the kind of tactic used to start over non-existent weapons of mass