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Debian Begins A General Resolution To Decide What To Do With Non-Free Firmware

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  • Debian Begins A General Resolution To Decide What To Do With Non-Free Firmware

    Phoronix: Debian Begins A General Resolution To Decide What To Do With Non-Free Firmware

    Debian has begun a general resolution process to solicit a vote by its stakeholders what to do with non-free firmware...

    https://www.phoronix.com/news/Debian...ee-Firmware-GR

  • #2
    Something similar to OpenBSD tends to work well.

    Put them on i.e http://firmware.openbsd.org and allow people who want them run fw_update to grab the ones that match the hardware.

    I suppose the only issue is wifi firmware if you are installing from the media and have no access to a physical cable. Then the trick would be to put them on a USB and mount that and run fw_update -p /mnt.

    At least unlike proprietary driver blobs, firmware blobs are platform agnostic, so you wouldn't need one for each architecture / kernel you run.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
      Something similar to OpenBSD tends to work well.

      Put them on i.e http://firmware.openbsd.org and allow people who want them run fw_update to grab the ones that match the hardware.

      I suppose the only issue is wifi firmware if you are installing from the media and have no access to a physical cable. Then the trick would be to put them on a USB and mount that and run fw_update -p /mnt.

      At least unlike proprietary driver blobs, firmware blobs are platform agnostic, so you wouldn't need one for each architecture / kernel you run.
      Or just leave the Wi-Fi firmware in, as that is needed for the basics. All the rest of the firmware could then be put behind fw_update. It would still cut down on a lot of non-free firmware if you only keep Wif-Fi firmware.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
        Something similar to OpenBSD tends to work well.

        Put them on i.e http://firmware.openbsd.org and allow people who want them run fw_update to grab the ones that match the hardware.

        I suppose the only issue is wifi firmware if you are installing from the media and have no access to a physical cable. Then the trick would be to put them on a USB and mount that and run fw_update -p /mnt.

        At least unlike proprietary driver blobs, firmware blobs are platform agnostic, so you wouldn't need one for each architecture / kernel you run.
        Broadcom bnx2 ethernet driver need non-free firmware too for example.

        Anyway, cd image with non-free firmware already exist.

        https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/u...ding-firmware/

        so option B already exist, just need to replace unoffical by offical in the url ...



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        • #5
          Just did a Debian 11 install on a spare machine couple of days ago to try and test the new KDE Gears 22.08 that was built for stable by a former developer of theirs. Installed the KDE Desktop only to discover the GD thing would not start. After searching around for a good hour I get to discover I need to enable the non-free repository left so helpfully left out of the install and get the firmware for my graphic card installed. Then it would boot to a desktop, not the first time it has happened to me with them supposedly we care for our users crowd there. At least them people at Ubuntu make certain their stuff works once it is installed, say whatever else you do not like about them, like that garbage snap I always uninstall and blacklist.

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          • #6
            a better option would be to actually work on developing free firmware instead of wasting so much effort on handwringing over non-free firmware.

            but at least Debian doesn't go out of their way to make development of free firmware more difficult like the FSF does.

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            • #7
              How laborious is to maintain a single media with non-free firmwares? I mean, pick the most common iso, which I suppose that's x64, create a non free version of it, while keeping the other media the same.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by fagnerln View Post
                How laborious is to maintain a single media with non-free firmwares? I mean, pick the most common iso, which I suppose that's x64, create a non free version of it, while keeping the other media the same.
                there are already "unofficial" media with non-free firmware. these proposals are mostly about making those "official" and easier to find.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hotaru View Post
                  a better option would be to actually work on developing free firmware instead of wasting so much effort on handwringing over non-free firmware.

                  but at least Debian doesn't go out of their way to make development of free firmware more difficult like the FSF does.
                  Last time I checked, Debian was not a multimillionaire company with hundreds of full time developers, so I'm afraid your idea won't work.
                  Last edited by EvilHowl; 27 August 2022, 01:45 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Having vital firmware separate but still giving users to select a desktop during install is stupidity and alienates new users.
                    If firmware is to be kept separate then either they should enable the grub modesetting=1 option or run a ncurses screen from tty after install with the option to install the needed firmware and desktop.

                    New users simply are not going to know how to edit sources.list, update that list , search for the firmware and install let alone know how to get to a tty to do that.

                    What they do need is to stick a big fat how-to next to their download Debian button.

                    With that said Debian testing is a very nice release.

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