[Mageia-dev] Non-free firmwares in installer

Maarten Vanraes maarten.vanraes at gmail.com
Sat Mar 26 14:05:41 CET 2011

Op zaterdag 26 maart 2011 13:19:10 schreef Michael scherer:
> On Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 09:33:04AM +0100, Tux99 wrote:
> > Quote: andr55 wrote on Fri, 25 March 2011 01:29
> > 
> > > My though was essentially that firmware is so close to hardware that
> > > its
> > > actual free/non-free status shouldn't apply - we should treat it like
> > > (almost) part of the hardware.
> > 
> > I agree with that. After all nobody (apart from R. Stallmann) questions
> > the fact that the BIOS of their PC is non-free or all the other firmware
> > or microcode on various chips on the motherboard and on expansion cards
> > and peripherals.
> In fact, this bother a lot of people :
> People who write coreboot for example ( http://www.coreboot.org ). The
> project started because someone wanted to be sure that his cluster didn't
> have bios problem. It is a daunting task to hit any key on 1000 servers,
> especially if none of them have a keyboard.
> People who just want to know how the pc work, for example, students in low
> level system. Lack of source doesn't really help to understand and learn,
> at least for the average people.
> People who maybe want to understand why the driver they wrote broke with
> firmware update ( happened on some Apple laptop because apple updated
> something that broke video driver on linux ). Or why it work with some
> card and not some other, since they have a different firmware.
> People who wonder if their TPM chips is really under their control or not.
> Maybe a bunch of loonies. Maybe they are just ex sony customers screwed by
> their vendor, or people who had 1984 on their Kindle before Amazon removed
> it.
> Or simply people that want to know what was fixed for their hardware.
> ( https://admin.fedoraproject.org/updates/F14/FEDORA-2010-18594 ). Or just
> want to avoid security issues (
> https://events.ccc.de/congress/2010/Fahrplan/track/Hacking/4174.en.html ).
> Or avoid waiting 5 minutes delay when booting a server for likely no good
> reason.
> Or people that have trouble because the lack of free software in their area
> prevent them from doing their work as security researcher, as demonstrated
> by the project Osmocombb ( http://bb.osmocom.org/trac/ ).
> But, yes maybe if we remove some security researchers, some cluster admins,
> some people that would prefer to not be screwed by vendor, some kernel
> developpers, some impatient sysadmins, some students, some coders and RMS,
> there is no one who question it.

i agree that free software is important, but if it's a blob without released 
source code but with BSD license, i really don't see the problem. perhaps 
someone could just ask the people who licensed it, for the source code...? but 
this is a thing to do for FSF, not mageia. that is my point.

it doesn't mean i don't agree with what those people are doing, they should 
release it with it. But that still doesn't make it the job of Mageia to fix 

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