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Debian Chooses A Reasonable, Common Sense Solution To Dealing With Non-Free Firmware

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  • #61
    Originally posted by redgreen925 View Post
    It works to install a base system and boot it but does not allow full functioning of the computer if needing the firmware for anything on it. And you are correct the non-free installer was hidden away and never mentioned, so much for caring about your users they claim.
    This is harder that one would think.
    https://wiki.debian.org/Firmware#Open_firmware
    There are devices that require firmware that use to work with Debian default disc because they were open source firmware.

    So you need to put non-free/close source firmware there. Also if you go back in time to when the choice with Debian was made not to include closed source firmware on the default disc there were cases where hardware bricked. Yes scsi cards were particular bad for this. what happen was many different versions would take the same chipset and do the boards slightly different and load the wrong closed source firmware cause the card to have electrical fault and die.

    Non-free installer hidden away because if you did not know what you were doing with it back in history you could be bricking the hardware not making the hardware functional.

    Devices adding signed firmware support has been good on this way as it prevents loading the incorrect firmware into a device just because OS ID the card as X vendor version of Y card when in really it Z vendors version of Y card that is going to die from X vendors firmware.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/ftdi-a...silent-update/
    Yes the above in from 2014 and its like the most recent case public case of vendor intentionally doing something to make clones/competitors hardware die.

    redgreen925 rock and hard place. Allowing closed source vendor firmware or drivers that you cannot audit has a risk that it contains something designed to kill another vendors device yes this is not good for end users. Not allowing closed source vendor firmware or drivers means less devices will work but risk of very bad issues is less.

    Debian choice here to keep user informed of what is going on is most likely the best solution. Debian old solution that you had to have knowledge about firmware to use the disc that had non free firmware made more sense in 1996-2004 when there was more cases of wrong load firmware kill card.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by oiaohm View Post

      This is harder that one would think.
      https://wiki.debian.org/Firmware#Open_firmware
      There are devices that require firmware that use to work with Debian default disc because they were open source firmware.

      So you need to put non-free/close source firmware there. Also if you go back in time to when the choice with Debian was made not to include closed source firmware on the default disc there were cases where hardware bricked. Yes scsi cards were particular bad for this. what happen was many different versions would take the same chipset and do the boards slightly different and load the wrong closed source firmware cause the card to have electrical fault and die.

      Non-free installer hidden away because if you did not know what you were doing with it back in history you could be bricking the hardware not making the hardware functional.

      Devices adding signed firmware support has been good on this way as it prevents loading the incorrect firmware into a device just because OS ID the card as X vendor version of Y card when in really it Z vendors version of Y card that is going to die from X vendors firmware.

      https://www.zdnet.com/article/ftdi-a...silent-update/
      Yes the above in from 2014 and its like the most recent case public case of vendor intentionally doing something to make clones/competitors hardware die.

      redgreen925 rock and hard place. Allowing closed source vendor firmware or drivers that you cannot audit has a risk that it contains something designed to kill another vendors device yes this is not good for end users. Not allowing closed source vendor firmware or drivers means less devices will work but risk of very bad issues is less.

      Debian choice here to keep user informed of what is going on is most likely the best solution. Debian old solution that you had to have knowledge about firmware to use the disc that had non free firmware made more sense in 1996-2004 when there was more cases of wrong load firmware kill card.
      I have been using GNU/Linux since 1999 first with Redhat then Mandrake and once I discovered the way out from RPM hell using Debian with the Woody release, think that was 2002. Never had heard of the bricking of the cards by some scumbag manufacturer but it does not surprise me at all if it has happened by some of them doing it. Information is always the key and they were not doing that for the longest time with the non-free firmware. It has lead to many bad experiences by users who wonder why the hell this Debian does not work when other distros do. Giving them a justly deserved reputation as the ones who make certain of bad experiences for people wanting to use it. Some things they do are great others just plain garbage IMHO. I like it for server machine but my recent try as a desktop was useless. I went with the Kubuntu which just worked and has continued to do so for months on end despite me having started with the pre-release 22.04 and now the upgraded plasma and frameworks you can get from them in extra repos. Same home on a Debian install even using the updated and higher versions you can get from former developer is nightmare change the wrong setting and it can make the desktop unusable. A simple rsync of the home to the original I started with allows it to login again, which leads me to believe their quality has gone downhill on the desktop.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by stormcrow View Post

        snipped
        Funny how whenever it's an argument to fix something causing harm to an ecosystem -- whether biosphere, software, justice systems, social conduct, whatever -- it's always "the rantings of an ideologue", but anyone arguing in favor of Status Quo Is God isn't just as much of an ideologue.

        Seems like a cultural bias, there. Almost as if those in power like things right where they are, no matter how many easily-avoided problems are caused in the process. Almost like those in power spent many decades indoctrinating entire generations of totally-not-serfs to think their chains are fashionable.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by redgreen925 View Post
          I have been using GNU/Linux since 1999 first with Redhat then Mandrake and once I discovered the way out from RPM hell using Debian with the Woody release, think that was 2002. Never had heard of the bricking of the cards by some scumbag manufacturer but it does not surprise me at all if it has happened by some of them doing it. Information is always the key and they were not doing that for the longest time with the non-free firmware. It has lead to many bad experiences by users who wonder why the hell this Debian does not work when other distros do. Giving them a justly deserved reputation as the ones who make certain of bad experiences for people wanting to use it. Some things they do are great others just plain garbage IMHO. I like it for server machine but my recent try as a desktop was useless. I went with the Kubuntu which just worked and has continued to do so for months on end despite me having started with the pre-release 22.04 and now the upgraded plasma and frameworks you can get from them in extra repos. Same home on a Debian install even using the updated and higher versions you can get from former developer is nightmare change the wrong setting and it can make the desktop unusable. A simple rsync of the home to the original I started with allows it to login again, which leads me to believe their quality has gone downhill on the desktop.
          This why time frame is critical. 1993 when debian first released was when it policy over non-free firmware was introduced. Scsi cards back then you had different "Add In Board​ partners." Think like the GPU today where one company makes the chip-set than another company makes the board. Back then it was not as regulated as today. Remember GPU AIB use to be able to put 2 GPU on a single board todays regulations by GPU vendors don't allow this.

          Yes 1993 to about 1998 you saw Scsi boards released on the market that used the same ID as some other card and need uploaded firmware but the wrong vendors firmware would kill them.

          Year 2000 I remember having a 3com clone network card that need a netbeui connected before it could perform TCP/IP this made me come very aware of firmware back then.

          There have been some wifi cards also had the same kinds of problem where the firmware mandates particular protocols used to be stable and killing self if wrong firmware is loaded this is into the early 2010s. Most linux users would be more careful in wifi card brands. Yes there have been a few people reporting this issue in fedora and ubuntu and other issue lists with laptops that came with some of these horrible cards from 2010-14.

          Last 6 years has been fairly good. redgreen925 so its been you choice hardware or luck that you have not hit one of the pieces of horrible hardware.

          I do kind of agree debian policy to have no closed source firmware has been bad. One wacky reality is all the items with vendor provided open source firmware have not had this horrible problem. You would think open source firmware would make it more likely to have some vendor alter something so stuff everyone over but that not how works.

          The solution debian done here it would be good if other distributions followed suite. I would say that debian policy does need to be extended as well. Its not all firmware that has know issue of being shoved on the wrong card so causing card to die. Ideal I would say 3 levels of warning. Open source firmware this stuff is fairly trustworthy minor notice to user. Closed source firmware that has no reported issues of killing stuff little detail on what cards it design for so users can double check spec sheets before they press yes. Closed source firmware with reported issues of killing stuff huge ass warning user better check the system specifications before pressing yes and if they don't be happy with the broken parts if they happen to get it wrong.

          Remember 99.9% of systems are likely not going to be screwed over by a miss matched firmware due to signed firmware and other things preventing loading incorrect firmware. But that 0.1% could be a person first time using Linux having a really bad time because of hardware killing firmware.

          KDE does have different annoying race condition problems some of those it saves to disc and restores. The kind of screw up you talked about with Debian I have seen with Kubuntu as well and fedora and arch and ..... Basically change setting in particular areas with KDE at the wrong time and it shoots self in foot. Over the last frew KDE releases they have removed about 12 race condition setting change areas in the mainline. There is only so much the distribution can do.

          Race conditions are basically games of dice where you can have something with a race condition fault and miss it decades and another person can have a system less than hour and have hit. I really hate race conditions bugs the lead to a lot of cases people claiming X distribution is better than Y when the difference is just their personal luck with X and Y distribution not at true quality difference.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
            Yes 1993 to about 1998 you saw Scsi boards released on the market that used the same ID as some other card and need uploaded firmware but the wrong vendors firmware would kill them.

            Last 6 years has been fairly good. redgreen925 so its been you choice hardware or luck that you have not hit one of the pieces of horrible hardware.


            KDE does have different annoying race condition problems some of those it saves to disc and restores. The kind of screw up you talked about with Debian I have seen with Kubuntu as well and fedora and arch and ..... Basically change setting in particular areas with KDE at the wrong time and it shoots self in foot. Over the last frew KDE releases they have removed about 12 race condition setting change areas in the mainline. There is only so much the distribution can do.

            Race conditions are basically games of dice where you can have something with a race condition fault and miss it decades and another person can have a system less than hour and have hit. I really hate race conditions bugs the lead to a lot of cases people claiming X distribution is better than Y when the difference is just their personal luck with X and Y distribution not at true quality difference.
            Definitely my choice of the hardware. I learned with my first install of it in 1999 when the Win98 SE left my top of the line SB AWE 64 sound card only able to play midi files nothing else, downgrading left it in same condition. I bought Redhat 5.2 at local computer store went through the setup and ran the sound config utility put in the interrupts and DMA channels it used and had sound. That was the end of Windows for me on a daily basis. I also had SCSI DVD burner which I saved $20 or so on for the controller card never would work in Linux as I choose model by unsupported manufacturer for the controller. After that I always checked for compatibility as the number one item on the list when purchasing items.

            Hmm interesting on the KDE it does appear to be that random as I gave the Debian a try again just the other day. I updated the install after having rsync'd the /home. Then I proceeded to get the latest KDE from unstable to run the new Plasma 5.26 along side the Gears 22.08.2. The same couple of changes I made the last time I tried it that fried the install did not do it this time. Now who knows if it was a bug fix that solved the problem or random BS that did it I do not know but it worked. Only for me to give up on it again after the VLC not being able to play a couple of videos in a row without it pretty much going into an unusable state. Where it would play the sound but have black screen for the video with the file open dialog frozen in place there too. A quit and restart of it got it working again but left me in no mood to continue with the testing so went back to the Kubuntu which just works and has since I switched back to Linux Christmas time last year. The VLC on it will play for days in a row no problems then out of the blue it will do a flashing of the icon in taskbar with the video freezing showing the content. Never once on the macOS did I see a problem with it or any other programs for that matter and I ran it on hackintosh for the majority of the 14 years I used it, for little over one year ran it on MacPro 5.1 I broke down and bought.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by user1 View Post

              I think I heard about these benefits, but is this such a common scenario when this stuff is urgently needed very often? I haven't heard about any specific case, like with specific old piece of hardware where this was beneficial. An example would be appreciated.
              It does not need to be urgently needed, nor being often needed. Having a closed firmware makes it impossible beforehand, and so closing doors about what you can do with your hardware.

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