Kurt Roeckx's journal

Entries from December 2008.

Debian vote about firmware and the Lenny release
14th December 2008

Today the voting period starts for this general resolution about firmware and the Lenny release.

As many have pointed about before this is very complex vote with many orthogonal issues.

The issues and some of the options:

And then we're going to decide all of that in 1 single vote. I interpret the options we have as:

Choice 1:

Choice 2:

Choice 3:

Choice 4:

Choice 5:

Choice 6:

Choice 7:

So in my opinion, options 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 all decide on 1 of the 4 questions, and only 2 of them about the same question.

I also don't see any bugs filed against the linux-2.6 package about any issues the kernel might have with firmware, so I have to wonder why we're voting about this.

My current vote is "2222221". I'm not sure it's the best options, but I currently don't see a better one.

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Debian and (non-free) firmware: where to put it?
21st December 2008

One of the discussion that always seems to come back is what to do with firmware. It's mostly about freedom versus usability. I think the main question is where do we want to put non-free firmware in our archive.

The opinion seems to range from that it should be in the non-free archive to that it should be in the main archive, with many opinions in between, and they all have good arguments.

We have 3 options that are related to it in our current vote that seem to come down to:

I don't see the point of that second option, and really have to wonder if there is any firmware under a license that would comply with the DFSG except that the source isn't available.

The third option can make sense for some of the blobs in the kernel that are basically settings that are written to the device. You could write an editor for it, assuming there is documentation for it. But I doubt that they're all settings, and it just seems to ignore the problem.

I find Theodore Ts'o' suggestion about creating a new section for firmware the best idea so far, specially if we can agree that our official CD/DVD images will have that section on it.

It has the advantage that all software in our main archive can comply with the DFSG, that you don't need to add the non-free section just to be able to use hardware that requires firmware and that you can just take a CD/DVD that works.

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