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Re: [AMENDMENT]: Release Etch now, with source-less but legal and freely licensed firmware

Frans Pop <elendil@planet.nl> wrote:

> On Thursday 05 October 2006 11:43, Frank Küster wrote:
>> first of all, I wonder why so few people from the teams involved take
>> part in this discussion.  I assume one reason might be that they prefer
>> IRC.  However, debian-vote is the list that's supposed to hold the
>> important information for the vote, isn't it?
> No, it is because everybody who is remotely reasonable (with a few 
> exceptions who are mostly forced to stay involved because of their roles in 
> the project) has long since become totally disgusted with this anal 
> discussion and the people pushing it .

I can understand that.  However, I'd rather have that discussion before
the GR than after it, when it turns out that people do *not* agree about
the meaning of it...  And I know that Sven Luther is able to rise high
emotions, but still it seems to me that what he says *is* reasonable.

> So, no, I will not support the current proposal (though I may vote for it). 
> And, no, I am no longer interested in participating in the discussion, 
> seeing as it is completely dominated by people I don't agree with anyway, 
> who don't seem to be able to listen to arguments nor have any sense of what 
> the majority of the project actually wants.

I also have a feeling like "Oh, well, nearly everybody wants the same,
let's just do it without bothering about the wording".  And I would be
surprised if after the vote someone among the relevant teams would step
up and say "Hey, sorry to tell you, but these drivers (A, B, and C)
cannot be kept in etch according to my understanding of the GR, and my
investigation of their details".  However, I do not think we can be
sure, and since I do *not* want to be surprised, I'd rather have a
proper discussion before the vote.

> IANAL, but at least I don't act like I am, like some others in this 
> discussion who seem so unbelievably sure that _they_ are right and so, of 
> course, nobody else can be.
> I have much more confidence in the more general consensus displayed by 
> upstream and _all_ other distributions that firmware blobs *are* 
> distributable under the GPL (of course, if there are individual 
> drivers/firmware for which that is in doubt, this should be investigated, 
> but I've lost any faith in the ability of people involved with debian-legal 
> to provide an unbiased opinion on that).

The problem is that there are individual drivers/firmware for which that
is in doubt.  For example, Larry Doolittle said recently:

| I am not perfect, but I have plenty of experience using and writing
| firmware of many kinds.  I would be very surprised if any of the
| listed firmware is not derived from a human-legible design file of
| one form or another.

and even suspected that in some cases the firmware might just be
sniffed.  I am confident that this will have no legal consequences.  But
what if 2 days after the GR some kernel contributor steps up and says:
"Well, to be honest, I got this from a guy who owned the device and told
me he had sniffed it"?  Will we exclude this firmware or have an other

> The current discussion in no way helps 
> the release of Etch.

Why not *name* the drivers that get an exception?  This way, anybody who
*really* can contribute more than general doubt has to do it now, before
the vote.

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

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