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Re: on firmware (possible proposal)

On Friday 14 November 2008, you wrote:
> But you have to see that castrating the ideals of the project is just
> as damaging as these distribution problems are. I believe Debian has
> remained important over time because, despite our various social
> failings, they *respect* our ideology. We remain relevant because we
> assert a standard and have managed to mostly provide a useful product
> while complying with those standards.

And I believe that Debian is becoming increasingly marginal because users 
are driven away to other distros. Sure, it is nice that a lot of those 
users go to derived distros instead of "real" competitors, but IMO it is 
still unhealthy if Debian's own user base becomes too small. After all, 
we largely depend on having that user base for a healthy turnover in DDs 
and having motivated translators and such.

IMO nobody here is promoting indiscriminate "distribution of proprietary 
binaries" as you call it, nor to change our ideology. IMO we can still 
work towards a perfect world while being a bit more pragmatic and serving 
the needs of our users, especially the kind of professional or large 
scale users that really need to able to install a distro on hardware and 
have it working without having to jump to hoops.

Reality is that _more_ hardware, and especially more _common_ hardware is 
becoming hard to use because of our ideals. You can also wonder if the 
DFSG would be written exactly the way they are if the were written from 
scratch in the current time frame. I doubt it.

If we are selective in our concessions to pragmatism and careful in the 
way we implement things (which always has been one of the strengths of 
Debian), I personally don't see the problem.

I'm well aware that what I tend to think of as the "DFSG hardliners" in 
the project do not like this, but why not discuss things openly (and 
hopefully without too much flaming) and vote on it? Let's see what the 
project as a whole thinks.


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