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Re: Call for seconds: DFSG violations in Lenny

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Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 10 2008, Johannes Wiedersich wrote:
>> On Sun, 9 Nov 2008 19:27:59 +0100 Robert Millan wrote:
>>> I think you're trying to imply that somehow SC #1
>>> and SC #4 are not consistent.  That is, that "our priorities are our users"
>>> is incompatible with our system being "100% free".
>> They are incompatible. As noted in the thread on debian-devel [1], even
>> debian's own servers won't run debian any more, because they require
>> non-debian firmware.
>         The kernel is not the OS. That is why it is Debian GNU?Linux,

GNU Software + the kernel = the OS [*]. GNU alone is not an OS, the
kernel alone is not an OS. But without a working kernel (including
network) it won't be possible to download the non-free blobs necessary to
install or run the OS.

(Assuming that there are people out there with just one computer, those
people will need a whole non-free OS apart from debian just in order to
be able to download the firmware and install debian in the first place
(debian lacking the network card's firmware). A whole non-free OS just to
compensate for the removal of some small binary blobs from d-i media!).

>  not just Linux.  And if the firmware is removed, but the re free
>  drviers remain, and we can get the non-free blobs from elsewhere, it
>  will just be Debian + non-free blobs.

Why that distinction?
If I add a non-free blob to a debian kernel it is no longer a debian kernel.
If I add a non-free blob to a computer running debian it won't run debian
any more.

If you insist that "Debian is 100% free", then a computer that is
_running_ non-free code (opposed to having non-free data as well) is not
running debian.

>         Frankly, just because I do nt ever use official kernels, and I
>  use nvidia drivers, has not led me to conclude I do not run
>  Debian. That sound bite seems like hyperbole to me, and weakens your
>  argument. 

Well, if you modify the code of your web browser you're not running
mozilla any more. So by analogy, if you modify the core of your OS you
are not running debian.

I have never concluded that I haven't run debian, just because my
wireless requires some firmware (I use debian's stock kernel). Other
parts of my computer also run on sourceless software (bios, etc. also the
software that presumably runs inside my monitor...).

However, some others have concluded that those blobs are to be removed
from debian, hence I won't run debian any longer.

If you disagree with this, where exactly do you draw the line between a
computer running debian and a computer running a different distribution?
(Debian, ubuntu, debian software + red hat kernel, etc.)
For the archives and installation media 100% is 100%. How much is 100%
debian on a computer? Is 50% enough or is 3:1 a better rule?

(I would draw a different distinction: software that runs on the computer
as opposed to software that runs on peripherials, but debian has decided
on a different criterium).

It's all a bit too much of hair splitting, I admit. But it was the hair
splitting of others that moved the firmware out of debian.

So please include the non-free firmware in debian and in the installer
and amend the SC as necessary.


[*] from http://www.debian.org/intro/about
> WHAT is Debian?
> At the core of an operating system is the kernel. 

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