on disabling drivers that use non-Free firmware
rmh at aybabtu.com
Wed Jan 21 12:33:44 UTC 2009
On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 11:33:08PM -0500, Richard M Stallman wrote:
> > In general we want not to distribute programs that require non-free
> > software to work.
> We wouldn't be doing that. We'd be distributing programs that don't
> work at all, unless 'notifying the user of incompatibility with Free
> Software' is regarded as a feature. There wouldn't be any traces of any
> actual dependency on non-Free Software there.
> In one sense, that is true.
> In another sense, all the REST of the code in that driver is code that
> will only work with a certain non-free program (plus a small change in
> the line that calls the loader).
> Both interpretations seem valid. So the question is, what serves the
> cause better? To include that program, or to delete it?
> I think (or thought) that deleting it is better. But I am not
> absolutely certain.
If we're talking about drivers, the user won't usually know they're asking
for firmware files, unless she's knowledgeable enough to check dmesg. OTOH
I think it's bad to assume the firmware is always going to be non-free. It
could be liberated, or others could write a replacement, and then not having
the ability to load the free version becomes a technical inconvenience.
The DRM opt-in fallacy: "Your data belongs to us. We will decide when (and
how) you may access your data; but nobody's threatening your freedom: we
still allow you to remove your data and not access it at all."
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