|| ||Nathanael Nerode <neroden-AT-fastmail.fm>|
|| ||Etch timeline is unrealistic because non-free firmware is NOT being dealt with|
|| ||Thu, 3 Aug 2006 01:17:28 -0400|
The kernel freeze must be delayed quite significantly for a fairly obvious
reason: the Debian kernel *still* has a lot of non-free and sourceless firmware in
it. Unfortunately, little to no progress has been made on this.
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is pretty obvious from looking at the
linux-source-2.6.17 package: they're not trying very hard.
Start with drivers/char/drm/mga_ucode.h. This is distributable, because it's under
a BSD license, but it's not free software, because there's no source code.
Continue with drivers/chare/drm/radeon_cp.h. This is "from ATI" and has no
copyright notices from ATI or license from ATI, so it's likely undistributable.
And those are two of the more prominent ones. I could list dozens.
If people will not take the firmware issue seriously, either etch will not release
on time, or etch will be *yet another* release where Debian *breaks* its Social Contract.
My patches for firmware loading for tg3 have been *removed* from the Debian kernel.
drivers/net/tg3.c *again* contains the proprietary firmware, compiled into the kernel.
At least it has proper copyright and license notices, so it's distributable, but
it's *still non-free*. This is a positive disincentive to work on fixing these issues:
my fully functional work was simply rejected in favor of breaking the Social
What can be done about this? If there is no plan for progress, I intend to file
'serious' bugs against each kernel package for each piece of firmware, which might
at least make *someone* pay *some* attention.
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