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Re: Debian Stretch new user report (vs Linux Mint)




On Mon, 2017-12-04 at 21:01 +0000, Ben Hutchings wrote:
> I end up needing non-free firmware on most bare metal systems, but
> nothing else from non-free.  I never remember how to include it at
> installation time.  And I don't want us to gloss over the fact that
> it is non-free and therefore not part of the official Debian system.

Yes, that is the core issue, isn't it?  In this corner case we are
being used as a pipe to carry a non-free blob from the manufacturer to
hardware.  That blob isn't part of Debian, any more than a bittorrent
stream is part of ComCast.  Yet both of us are being forced to carry
stuff we find obnoxious.

Luckily for Comcast they will work perfectly fine without the content
they would to charge more for.  All they have to do is convince the
politicians to let them do it.

We aren't so fortunate.  If we want to use Debian as a tool to educate
people on what free software is about, they have to be able to install
the thing.  That means we must swallow our pride and allow non-free
blobs for network drivers, GPU's, mass storage and what not onto our
install media.  So we fine ourselves in a catch 22 - if we want to
promote DFSG to the masses, we must break the DFSG for our very own
install media.  Worse, we must get permission from ourselves to do
this, and it seems we aren't as easily to manipulate as some
politicians.  Or maybe we are, because we already do distribute non
DFSG images.

Personally, I find the cognitive dissonance created hard reason about,
let alone swallow.  It seems like the DFSG contains it's own antidote. 
If true the DFSG needs to change to accommodate this corner case,
otherwise it will remain a festering auto immune disease we pick at for
eternity.

That doesn't seem like an impossible ask given the pipe analogy.  The
DFSG is ultimately about letting anyone start with Debian, and build
something new from it as easily as we can.  If we can
acknowledge Debian packages can serve as a mere communication channel
for blobs of data without compromising the "as easily as we can" bit,
then we have a way forward.

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