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Debian Improves Docs To Inform Users Their Systems Might Not Work Without Non-Free Firmware

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  • idash
    replied
    I find that a balanced decision.

    It's fine to do whatever you think is right as long as you make things clear to users of your product.
    Unlike FSF distributions where they actively avoid "steering" users to installing proprietary programs.

    Personally, I think Debian made the "right" decision here, but that's just my opinion.
    I'd rather have a "pure" base system to start with, and then I can add to it just the proprietary bits that I need and nothing more.

    Looking forward to upgrade to Debian 11.

    Leave a comment:


  • Danielsan
    replied
    When I read some comments it is clear that many of you have never tried to install Debian not even a single time...

    Debian took time to finally delivering a blobs-free kernel/distro, however many hardware really still don't work without them for that reason exist the unofficial-versions with the blobs binary already available.

    There are out there plenty of distros that don't really care anymore about freedom, floss or open-source to try to get one user more, those also delivering closed software by default or promote those instead of floss alternative, there is not reason to blame or complain about the Debian project for this, just use anything but Debian.

    Leave a comment:


  • discordian
    replied
    Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
    Why do you need a network to install a package? Try to avoid being drip fed from online services. It isn't deterministic enough for me. It feels careless.
    Are you serious, most installers nowadays connect to repositories and DL updated or missing packages? That potentially includes the firmwares that are the topic of the thread.

    The official installer should be a complete package that gives you all options and does its best effort of running everywhere. No one has a clue or gives a damn what components will need a firmware blob, and does enjoy having to fix that crap with a textmode console (or worse).

    I have setup 100' of debian systems and my weapon of choice is a prepared image and dd. Thats nothing Id want to burden a normal end-user with.

    Leave a comment:


  • patrakov
    replied
    Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
    There is an element of Linux trying to do the right thing and prioritize "open" devices, including firmware.
    The only devices that get prioritized this way are virtual machines and some server-class (e.g. SuperMicro) motherboards supposed to be accessed remotely via IPMI only.

    Leave a comment:


  • oiaohm
    replied
    Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
    Why do you need a network to install a package? Try to avoid being drip fed from online services. It isn't deterministic enough for me. It feels careless.
    Network to install a package does not have to mean internet it can mean intranet as well. Not all use cases are the same. There are cases where network be it intranet or internet makes sense for installing packages. Another example why you might need network to install system is like running raspberry pi headless as in without keyboard and mouse and doing setup over ssh.

    There are cases where you need network features up, others where you need monitor to work. others where you need keyboard to work. Yes there is a fun one on one device where usb storage works without third party firmware that is hosted on kernel.org but the USB port will not support HID devices due to a firmware bug.

    Like it or not there are many cases where the hardware without OS loaded firmware files is basically a brick.

    Leave a comment:


  • oiaohm
    replied
    Originally posted by kpedersen View Post

    Heh, I am firmly on the side of FOSS. I don't think blobs should be provided by any distro. Windows (and Ubuntu) certainly don't do the "right thing".

    Especially when they can be installed with one command. I am not sure why anyone would suggest Debian should include them in the default install.
    Absolutely. Ubuntu or Windows does "right" by the user.

    Please note you wrote that. Windows when it comes to reinstalling windows does not do right by the user at all. Ubuntu you can argue that include firmware is to make user time better. But windows there are a lot of cases with windows where drivers don't appear in the install, network interfaces are missing, graphics is missing all these are what people would call missing windows drivers and most of these are windows drivers with embedded firmware to make the hardware work lot of them you have to add to the windows install image so windows will install. Yes windows includes so much firmware in the include drivers and also missing a stack with no simple way to add more if need.

    One reason why you will want to use a USB key with firmware on or "Unofficial non-free images including firmware packages" with debian is the cases where you cannot execute the one command to install the firmware files without firmware files. There is the chicken vs egg problem here like how can you network download the firmware package if your network card need firmware to work. This can be case that your network adaptors wired and wifi and monitor have not come to life because they need firmware. Please note if you have used USB key with firmware so the install works right this does not automatically mean that firmware packages will be installed with debian.

    Also think of case of livecd/usb setups. The firmware problem is double sided. There are times like microcode updates to the CPU where not having them result in hardware being unstable and possible having extra security risks.

    Leave a comment:


  • kpedersen
    replied
    Originally posted by discordian View Post
    It might need more than one command to setup your network, if you even have one.
    Why do you need a network to install a package? Try to avoid being drip fed from online services. It isn't deterministic enough for me. It feels careless.

    Leave a comment:


  • discordian
    replied
    Originally posted by kpedersen View Post

    Heh, I am firmly on the side of FOSS. I don't think blobs should be provided by any distro. Windows (and Ubuntu) certainly don't do the "right thing".

    Especially when they can be installed with one command. I am not sure why anyone would suggest Debian should include them in the default install.
    It might need more than one command to setup your network, if you even have one.

    There are cds/usb images available with firmware (https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/u...ding-firmware/) , being "unofficial" which sure is a nice reassurance if you have to use them for stuff thats openly avalaible from their servers

    Leave a comment:


  • ssokolow
    replied
    Originally posted by lucrus View Post
    Isn't GPU firmware comparable to the hardware itself? They both aren't free, but neither one calls into the kernel nor user space programs as they simply provide a blackbox, be it soldered or flashed... there's little difference.

    I don't understand the Debian team choice to be so radical about GPU firmware: what's the point of leaving users without a working display when they are already using at least two other non-free firmwares just to boot up their PC (CPU firmware and the BIOS)? Granted, those two are already flashed at Debian install time and Debian does not need to ship those two, so Debian is not responsible for those two, but being an asshole to your users doesn't make users more aware of anything. At best, it makes them more upset. At worst, it makes them go back to Windows (or, even worse in this regard, Ubuntu...).
    I'm sure it traces back to Stallman's decision that, if it's burned into the hardware and non-upgradeable, then it's to be considered equivalent to an ASIC. If it's replaceable, then it's to be considered software and FLOSS principles apply.

    Leave a comment:


  • kpedersen
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    kpedersen do drop the idea that Windows does the right thing
    Heh, I am firmly on the side of FOSS. I don't think blobs should be provided by any distro. Windows (and Ubuntu) certainly don't do the "right thing".

    Especially when they can be installed with one command. I am not sure why anyone would suggest Debian should include them in the default install.

    Leave a comment:

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