DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices - Debian

This is a discussion on DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices - Debian ; On Nov 08, Theodore Tso wrote: > So while I am personally of the DFSG only makes sense for executable > *software* that runs on the host CPU, previous GR's have shown that > this position has a distinct minority. ...

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Thread: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

  1. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    On Nov 08, Theodore Tso wrote:

    > So while I am personally of the DFSG only makes sense for executable
    > *software* that runs on the host CPU, previous GR's have shown that
    > this position has a distinct minority. So why not let the DFSG
    > hard-liners win this one completely? The current kernel team, if they

    I agree. While I have always opposed the "editorial changes" and the
    removal of firmwares from Debian, if the DFSG-revisionists won I can't
    see why the DFSG should be selectively enforced.
    Either we create (i.e. vote) a document defining which parts of the DFSG
    can be ignored for an indefinite time or the release managers and
    ftpmasters should apply it as usual every time a violation is reported
    and confirmed.

    Myself, I'd like a Debian fork with RHEL kernels anyway...

    --
    ciao,
    Marco

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  2. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    Le lundi 10 novembre 2008 à 03:28 +0100, Marco d'Itri a écrit :
    > Myself, I'd like a Debian fork with RHEL kernels anyway...


    lol

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  3. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

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    Peter Palfrader wrote:
    > On Sat, 08 Nov 2008, Theodore Tso wrote:
    >
    >> Fortunately for us, at the
    >> moment I am not aware of large numbers of highly popular laptops or
    >> servers for which non-free firmware is necessary before the firmware
    >> would be able to access the network.

    >
    > HP DL360 G5:
    > firmware-bnx2
    > (Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme II BCM5708 Gigabit Ethernet)
    >
    > Yes, I was really thrilled when I found out we can't install lenny in
    > any sane way on debian.org hardware.


    That really sums it up nicely for me...

    Since a kernel containing sourceless firmware won't be shiped with debian
    and won't be called a debian kernel, to me it seems obvious that a
    computer running such firmware can not be called a computer runing the
    debian OS.

    I think debian should not lie to it's users and should amend the first
    sentence on www.debian.org accordingly:

    > Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer.


    ....provided you don't want to use wireless or some other hardware that
    requires sourceless firmware [footnote/link to a list].

    With the hence large list of exceptions it will be misleading to say
    "debian is a free OS for _your_ computer".

    Debian should also admit at a prominent position of the web sites and the
    release notes that their own servers won't run debian and that most
    likely few of their developers run debian on a computer that has a
    working wireless or a working gsm etc. (The options for wireless are
    summarized in [1]. I'd really like to know the fraction of DDs who will
    run plain debian and do without sourceless stuff on all their computers,
    but I guess it will become increasingly and embarrassingly small...)

    The lengths of the various threads are an indication that there is no
    simple way out of this dilemma.

    In my personal opinion it would be better to amend the social contract
    instead of moving in the direction that debian (purely) won't run on a
    large fraction of current hardware.

    Yes, I'd love to only have firmware (and bioses) with sources, but since
    this seems unrealistic for the foreseeable future, as a user I'd prefer
    to have support for firmware _inside_ debian instead of _outside_ of it
    (in non-free, and opening a whole bunch of other non-free along with it).
    It will leave me in an awkward position, if the firmware that controls my
    network connectivity will _not_ be supported by the OS, at least at the
    level that (security) updates of the firmware will be added to releases
    and point releases.

    Along the promise of free software, the social contract also promises
    that the projects priorities are it's users. I think that the tremendous
    success of ubuntu is mainly based on their better priorities for the
    users, while debian's impression of focussing on the interests of their
    own developers promotes users away from debian. There are much to many
    professionals who use debian on 100% of their servers, but admit of using
    ubuntu on their home computers.

    I think the best way out of this dilemma is to add a 'non-free firmware'
    section and make this section part of official debian. A provision is
    that the firmware is not run on the main processor. A distinction between
    sourceless firmware loaded by the OS (turning it non-debian) and that
    present by other means (in agreement with the SC) is pointless. In fact,
    it is often better to have firmware loaded by the OS compared to have
    firmware 'hard wired' to the chip, since the latter case makes upgrades
    much more cumbersome for the user. By sticking to the social contract in
    the present form, debian pushes hardware vendors in the opposite
    direction (firmware on the chip) and thus will make it more difficult for
    their users.

    Of course that's all only my humble opinion.

    [Disclaimer: I am not a DD. ]

    Cheers,
    Johannes

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...reless_drivers

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  4. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 12:56:26PM +1030, Karl Goetz wrote:
    > Why are they making hardware that can transmit on *any* frequency? Why
    > are they not making hardware that transmits in the 2.4GHz ISM band
    > perhaps with firmware to 'fine tune' it? Seems strange to pour lots of
    > money into making an all-band radio then locking it to a 500MHz band.


    As you seem to know about the physics, please provide the specs for a
    proper hardware-based bandpass-filter for the 2.4GHz ISM band, so you
    can't leaf this band without hardware modification.

    Sure, the hardware limits it already, the antenna and sender produce a
    ressonance circuit. But this can include a bandwidth of several GHz.

    Bastian

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  5. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    Am 2008-11-08 15:29:44, schrieb Thomas Bushnell BSG:
    > It seems to me that, if this is really true, then the hardware
    > manufacturers have been lying to the FCC for years, claiming that the
    > user cannot reprogram the card, without explaining that, in fact, it's
    > just that users may not know how to, but that they can do so without any
    > hardware mucking.


    Not realy since in Europe a WiFi Card has for exanlep only 100mW (which
    allow an operativ-radius of arround 300m) while in Australia and the USA
    it can have 400mW and you can reach your AT on over 3 miles...

    My 68 AP's "Proxim Tsunami MP.11a" run with 800mW in Strasbourg/France
    and Kehl/Germany, BUT, you need a commercial License for it. And of
    course, you CAN harm others if not correct implemented and tested.

    Exactly the same WiFi Chip is used on Consumer WiFi cards...

    Now load the firmware from the Proxim Tsunami MP.11a into your PCMCIA or
    ExpressCard...

    Thanks, Greetings and nice Day/Evening
    Michelle Konzack
    Systemadministrator
    24V Electronic Engineer
    Tamay Dogan Network
    Debian GNU/Linux Consultant


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  6. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    Am 2008-11-09 12:19:06, schrieb Josselin Mouette:
    > Why in the world would we do that when we have all that???s needed to
    > simply move the firmware images to non-free?


    And what, if peoples do not want to use non-free but get there hardware
    working?

    The best would be to create a new flavour called "firmware" which IS
    non-free but seperated from the flavour "non-free".

    Thanks, Greetings and nice Day/Evening
    Michelle Konzack
    Systemadministrator
    24V Electronic Engineer
    Tamay Dogan Network
    Debian GNU/Linux Consultant


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  7. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    Am 2008-11-10 09:54:24, schrieb Johannes Wiedersich:
    > I think the best way out of this dilemma is to add a 'non-free firmware'
    > section and make this section part of official debian. A provision is


    But this should be a "volatile" archive, which allow the upload of new
    firmware releases and not let the users stuck with old outdated firmware

    Note: On any of my computers I have "contrib"
    and "non-free" NOT configured.

    Thanks, Greetings and nice Day/Evening
    Michelle Konzack
    Systemadministrator
    24V Electronic Engineer
    Tamay Dogan Network
    Debian GNU/Linux Consultant


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  8. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    Am 2008-11-10 12:56:26, schrieb Karl Goetz:
    > Why are they making hardware that can transmit on *any* frequency? Why
    > are they not making hardware that transmits in the 2.4GHz ISM band
    > perhaps with firmware to 'fine tune' it? Seems strange to pour lots of
    > money into making an all-band radio then locking it to a 500MHz band.


    Because the differnt LAWs in the world?

    The WiFi chip must support 2.1-2.8 GHz where the UPPER/LOWER frequencies
    are disallowed in 90% of the world...

    Making 3 differnt WiFi chips would let the cost explode...

    And of course, some of the Consumer Chips exist in Industrial/Military
    grade... There is NO need to develop TWO different chips, it is only
    about quality testing likefor Solar-Cells. The A-Ware goes into the
    space tecnology, the B-Ware is for industrial use and the C-Ware for
    standard Solar-Power Plants and Consumers...

    Thanks, Greetings and nice Day/Evening
    Michelle Konzack
    Systemadministrator
    24V Electronic Engineer
    Tamay Dogan Network
    Debian GNU/Linux Consultant


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  9. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    Theodore Tso wrote:
    > Another consequence of making it easy for the users to add non-free to
    > the repositories so they can download firmware necessary to make their
    > hardware useful is that a huge number of users may end up enabling
    > non-free just to make their hardware work, and then they may end up
    > installing even more non-free packages on their system.


    This is actually true for me. I would like to keep away non-free
    software from my system, but I also want to receive updates for the
    package firmware-iwlwifi, so I have to add the non-free section. For
    me firmware is just something different and it might be a good thing
    to have a seperate section for that.


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  10. Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

    On Sat, 2008-11-08 at 14:11 -0500, Theodore Tso wrote:
    > So realistically, let's be honest with ourselves. Not supporting
    > devices that require non-free firmwares is not going to help make the
    > world a better place. What it will probably do is that users, once
    > they find out that that a Debian install will result in various bits
    > and pieces of their hardware being non-functional until they figure
    > out how to download various magic firmware components, or manually
    > configuring the non-free repository, will probably simply switch to
    > another distribution, such as Fedora or Ubuntu. At which point there
    > will be even *fewer* Debian users, and so Debian will have even *less*
    > leverage.


    I completely agree with the contents of your email, and I would like to
    express this here: while I believe Debian must remain committed to
    software freedom, we also need to be realistic, and understand that we
    must draw a line somewhere. We need to get the word out that we are not
    happy with this situation, and push for change, but we need to be
    careful not to make Debian lose its relevance.

    Notice that I'm not saying that we should make non-free a part of Debian
    and stop caring about the DSFG, mind you. I am an advocate of removing
    non-free and contrib from Debian servers, actually.

    See you,

    --
    Gustavo Noronha Silva
    Debian Project

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