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Re: call for seconds: on firmware

On Tue, Nov 18 2008, Johannes Wiedersich wrote:

> Ben Finney wrote:
>> The Debian system we provide is usable. There may be devices which are
>> not yet operable with Debian, 
> Which wireless card is supported by debian without any sourceless
> firmware, either loaded by the kernel or present on the chip?

        The latter is not a concern. See, the SC says that non-free junk
 should not be in main; it can be elsewhere. So, the user is free to use
 non-free firmware -- so if the user acquires it along with the
 hardware, we don't care.

        The SC only talks about what is part of the Debian system. We
 also say people might need non-free stuff, and we put that in a special
 area on our archive.

> Would you imply that wireless networking should never be usable by
> debian users, if it turns out that publication of sourcecode is illegal
> in countries like the US or the EU? (Modifications of the firmware are
> probably illegal, because they can modify the electromagnetic emission
> of the devices, potentially killing people around it.)

        Strawman. Debian users like me do use nvidia, and iwlwifi, even
 though my iwlwifi driver uses firmware not in Debian (it is in

        So, I could not install this laptop over wifi. Now a big deal --
 I installed it over a wired LAN, and I suppose I could have done
 sneakernet itself. I do not think that the hassle was worth sacrificing
 Debian's principles for. 

A kiss is a course of procedure, cunningly devised, for the mutual
stoppage of speech at a moment when words are superfluous.
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>  
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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