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on firmware (possible proposal)

I so didn't want to get into this discussion, but here goes anyway.

I'm considering formally proposing this GR (option):

| Firmware is data that is uploaded to hardware components, not designed to be
| run on the host CPU.  Often this firmware is already required at install time
| in order to use network or storage devices.
| Unfortunately such firmware often is distributed as BLOBs, with no source or
| further documentation that lets us learn how it works or interacts with the
| hardware in question.  By excluding such firmware from Debian we exclude
| users that require such devices from installing our operating system, or
| make it unnecessarily hard for them.
| Therefore the Debian project resolves that
|  a) firmware in Debian does not have to come with source.  While we do
|     prefer firmware that comes with source and documentation we will not
|     require it,
|  b) we however do require all other freedoms that the DFSG mandate from
|     components of our operating system, and
|  c) such firmware can and should be part of our official installation media.

Point (c) could mean that for now such data may stay in the main section
of our archive but that we should look into creating a new, seperate
section for firmware that does not come with source.  But that's an
implementation detail that need not be part of the GR.

                           |  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux **
      Peter Palfrader      | : :' :      The  universal
 http://www.palfrader.org/ | `. `'      Operating System
                           |   `-    http://www.debian.org/

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