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Re: on firmware (possible proposal)

----- "Peter Palfrader" <weasel@debian.org> wrote:

> c) such firmware can and should be part of our official installation media.

We've seen a trend towards organizations building on Debian as a foundation for various special purpose distributions. Debian adds a lot of value as a starting point precisely because of our commitment to a completely Free Software oriented process. I think its safe to say that our model forced Novell and Red Hat to both create parallel programs (OpenSUSE, Fedora) to match the influence of Debian.

Extending on this trend towards distributors, maybe we should not be overly obsessed with the Debian "reference platform" running on every piece of equipment under the stars. If we accept that proprietary drivers, source and binaries are indispensable for a "retail" quality product then I think it would be better for us to promote "value added" distributions from other groups than to compromise our core policies. In the end, as we've seen with Ubuntu, second-tier distributors can *vastly increase* the market share of our packaging rather than diminishing it.

I can't say whether this distribution process would take the form of an automated way to fetch proprietary apt-sources, a catalog of value-added ISO images or something completely different. I do think it would be more natural for us to rely on partners to fulfill this role because it would be more flexible going forward. Part of the process could be to establish a new set of policies for distributors to follow if they want to be recognized as "Debian Compatible(tm)". Major partners like Ubuntu, Mepis and Knoppix could help us work out some ground rules and maybe large commercial users like Hewlett Packard could give us some perspective on how their internal packages could fit into that sort of scheme.

Ean Schuessler, CTO Brainfood.com
ean@brainfood.com - http://www.brainfood.com - 214-720-0700 x 315

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