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Re: on firmware (possible proposal)

On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 04:20:33PM +0100, Martin Michlmayr wrote:
>* Robert Millan <rmh@aybabtu.com> [2008-11-12 15:29]:
>> For example, if you want to install Debian on an NSLU, the only
>> difficulty is finding the unofficial D-I images that include
>> non-free firmware.  And even that can be improved.  They could be
>> linked from the main website, and integrated with our
>> infrastructure, much like we do for "non-free", as long as we make
>> it clear they're not officially "Debian".
>The problem with this is that we'll end up shipping official Debian
>CDs that won't work on many systems and eventually we'll end up
>telling people "take the unofficial one, you know, the one that
>actually works".  I've been doing that for NSLU2 and there it's not
>such a big deal because everyone uses netboot images, but it's more of
>a problem with CDs/DVDs.

Absolutely. I'm looking into creating such "unofficial" CDs already as
part of the regular builds. As far as I can see, too many people are
going to need them. If we make it too hard for people to install
Debian on their hardware, we *will* lose a lot of users. I'm even in
that group - a lot of the machines we have at work need firmware and
if they don't install and work easily we'll probably end up being
forced to install Fedora instead.

I think I agree with the suggestion of creating a new archive section
for firmware - packages that are acknowledged to not meet the same
standards as main, but checked so that we know they're still legally
shippable by default on official installation media. I'm not sure if
we can make that kind of change before Lenny, so I'd be happy to go
with another exemption for Lenny and make the change afterwards.

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@einval.com
"When C++ is your hammer, everything looks like a thumb." -- Steven M. Haflich

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