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Re: Various proposals related to source-less material in the kernel

Le samedi 09 septembre 2006 à 13:06 -0500, Debian Project Secretary a
écrit :
> Hi,
>         I am afraid I am beginning to lose track of the various
>  proposals that have been brought forth to address how to handle the
>  issue of source less material in the kernel sources.  Could the
>  proponents of the various proposals submit a summary, including the
>  formal text of the GR, the seconds supporting it (possibly with the
>  dates of the mail seconding the proposal, to help track down the
>  signatures), and the one line summary they would like to see on the
>  ballot?

My proposal (amendment to Steve Langasek's initial proposal) supports
the decisions from the release team wrt. firmware and data, but treats
firmwares with a special exception to DFSG#2 because of technical
limitations. This exception would automatically go away when we have
support for non-free firmwares in both the kernel and d-i packages.

Here is the complete text:

         The application of DFSG#2 to firmware and other data

The Debian Project recognizes that access to source code for a work of
software is very important for software freedom, but at the same time
"source" is often not a well-defined concept for works other than those
traditionally considered "programs".  The most commonly cited definition is
that found in version 2 of the GNU GPL, "the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it," but for non-program works, it is not always
clear that requiring this "source" as a precondition of inclusion in main
is in the best interest of our users or advances the cause of Free Software:

  - The author's preferred form for modification may require non-free tools
    in order to be converted into its final "binary" form; e.g., some
    device firmware, videos, and graphics.
  - The preferred form for modification may be orders of magnitude larger
    than the final "binary" form, resulting in prohibitive mirror space
    requirements out of proportion to the benefits of making this source
    universally available; e.g., some videos.
  - The "binary" and "source" forms of a work may be interconvertible with no
    data loss, and each may be the preferred form for modification by
    different users with different tools at their disposal; e.g., some

While the Debian Free Software Guidelines assert that source code is a
paramount requirement for programs, they do not state that this is the case
for non-program works, which permits us to consider whether one of the above
points justifies a pragmatic concession to the larger context within which
Free Software operates.


        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.


It was proposed on Sat, 26 Aug 2006 11:37:20 +0200 and seconded by:
      * Pierre Habouzit <madcoder@debian.org> on Mon, 28 Aug 2006
        11:49:22 +0200
      * Clément Stenac <zorglub@debian.org> on Tue, 29 Aug 2006 08:23:13
      * Julien BLACHE <jblache@debian.org> on Tue, 29 Aug 2006 12:22:03
      * Julien Danjou <acid@debian.org> on Tue, 29 Aug 2006 13:14:33
      * Aurelien Jarno <aurelien@aurel32.net> on Tue, 29 Aug 2006
        15:01:57 +0200

A proposal for the one-line summary:
      * DFSG#2 doesn't apply to data, special exception for firmwares in
        kernel packages
(I think the secretary should choose the final wording anyway so that
the ballot looks consistent.)
 .''`.           Josselin Mouette        /\./\
: :' :           josselin.mouette@ens-lyon.org
`. `'                        joss@debian.org
  `-  Debian GNU/Linux -- The power of freedom

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