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Firmware vote rationale

This is to record the reason behind my firmware GR vote
(not that you are expected to mind what I think, but I
wish to go on record at vote time anyway).  Debian
should in my view treat firmware differently than other
software.  Although this does not necessarily mean that
Debian should distribute the firmware, trying to fit the
DFSG to firmware is like trying to fit A.J.'s shoe to an
elephant; the two were never made to go together.

My vote:

    [ 1 ] Choice 1: Release Etch even with firmware
    [ 3 ] Choice 2: Special DFSG exception [3:1]
    [ 2 ] Choice 3: Further discussion

Choice 2 ranks below Further Discussion mostly because I
am not yet sure that granting kernel upstream a
permanent special privilege the DFSG denies other
upstream developers is prudent in the long term.

Highly valid, deeply considered arguments have been
advanced in recent weeks and recent years on many sides
of the firmware debate.  This is no easy issue, but on
the whole, I am persuaded that a narrow application of
the DFSG to firmware does not serve Debian's vision
well.  The hardware engineers who make firmware blobs
are very differently motivated than the proprietary
software predators who distribute non-free software.
The firmware thus produced serves a very different role.
The Debian Project would be unwise to ignore the

Thaddeus H. Black
508 Nellie's Cave Road
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060, USA
+1 540 961 0920, t@b-tk.org, thb@debian.org

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