Linux: Debian 6.0 To Feature a Completely Free Kernel

Jason Self jason at
Fri Dec 17 17:02:45 UTC 2010

There's a thread [1] on the gnu-linux-libre mailing list about just how
free the kernel in Squeeze really is.


There's a reply that doesn't seem to be in the list archives, so I pasted
it below.

Richard Stallman <rms at> wrote:

> It sounds like the new Debian version of Linux will recommend
> specific nonfree firmware programs, which is undesirable.
> I talked with Alexandre a few months ago, and we decided to change the
> way Linux Libre deals with outside nonfree firmware.
> The current practice is to change the code to fail instead of trying
> to load any firmware.
> The change is to obfuscate the names of the firmware files in the
> Linux source code.  That way, if a user tracks down what firmware to
> install and installs it under the name that the code wants, it will.
> But Linux Libre will still not suggest installation of the nonfree
> firmware file to handle a particular device.
> In either case, it is possible to run the nonfree software.  Free
> software has no way to stop users from doing something, since users an
> change it.
> Alexandre, how is progress on this?
> --
> Richard Stallman
> President, Free Software Foundation
> 51 Franklin St
> Boston MA 02110

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