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Re: Possible draft non-free firmware option with SC change

Hi Simon!

On Fri, Sep 09, 2022 at 09:16:48AM +0200, Simon Josefsson wrote:
>Steve McIntyre <steve@einval.com> writes:
>I read your proposals as a deep frustration with this situation and a
>desire to solve the problem faster than waiting for free software
>support for relevant hardware to materialize.  I don't think this is a
>problem that Debian should solve by compromising on the free software
>principles.  I think this is a problem Debian has been and is (slowly)
>solving by remaining what it has been: a free OS.  There is much more
>hardware that works with free software today than it was 20 years ago.
>Many hardware vendors today realize that support for GNU/Linux
>distributions like Debian is important for their success.

But, being brutally honest, a much larger number of hardware vendors
*don't* especially care about Debian and other Linux distros, at least
not enough to design special hardware for us with a different firmware
setup. As far as many vendors are concerned, the firmware blobs are
basically part of the hardware. They're just provided in a cheaper,
more flexible way - loading things at runtime. Lots of vendors have
made those firmware blobs freely redistributable spefically to enable
Linux distros to provide them to users, rather than only embedding
them in the Windows or Mac OS drivers.

In this world, we have a lot of users with hardware that currently
depends on non-free firmware uploads to be functional. Telling users
"you need 'better' hardware to run our OS" is self-defeating at best,
elitist at worst.


>I think the difference of opinion is that your proposal is based on the
>argument that it is worth compromising on the ideals of free software in
>order to allow users to be able to run free software.  I disagree with
>that opinion.  If you disagree with my characterization of your
>proposal, let's discuss and see if there is a middle ground somewhere.

I think you have it, yes. We're simply disagreeing about what
compromises we're prepared to accept. I think that's fair, and fine -
I'm explicitly asking for a project-wide opinion on this. This is
also why I've seconded several of the competing ballot options. OK?

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@einval.com
"Since phone messaging became popular, the young generation has lost the
 ability to read or write anything that is longer than one hundred and sixty
 characters."  -- Ignatios Souvatzis

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