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Re: Firmware vote rationale

On Thu, Oct 12, 2006 at 02:23:05PM +0000, Thaddeus H. Black wrote:
> 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

Notice that Choice 1:, including the amendment proposed by Manoj says :

  We assure the community that there will be no regressions in the progress
  made for freedom in the kernel distributed by Debian relative to the Sarge
  release in Etch

  We give priority to the timely release of Etch over sorting every bit out;
  for this reason, we will treat removal of sourceless firmware as a
  best-effort process, and deliver firmware in udebs as long as it is
  necessary for installation (like all udebs), and firmware included in the
  kernel itself as part of Debian Etch, as long as we are legally allowed to
  do so, and the firmware is distributed upstream under a license that
  complies with the DFSG.

Point 3. says we cannot release etch with those firmwares which where stripped
for the sarge release, which include, among others, the tg3 firmware, for a
very popular gigabit ethernet driver.

Point 4. forbids distribution of the illegally to distribute firmware, which
include all those firmwares which are de-facto under the GPL, but lack
sources. Point 4. also forbids distribution of DFSG non-free firmwares, and
thus we must get ride of all the problematic firmwares, and the short title is
highly misleading, if not a plain tentative to abuse the voter.

As such, the best vote in this current situation, is to rank Further
discussion above all other choices, and to consider the proposal favored by
the kernel team, and which was coined to reach a consensus everyone could
agree with, and found at :


(Still needs 2 seconds though).


Sven Luther

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