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Re: ISO download difficult

On Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM, Guus Sliepen wrote:

> In my eyes, that is just moving the choice to an earlier point in time
> when the user might not have enough information to make the decision,
> for example because of brand new hardware. But, having two installers
> side by side is a very good option, and then also have the non-free
> version prompt the user when it detects that non-free firmware is needed
> to get a fully operating system. Also, the purely free version could
> point to the non-free installer if non-free firmware is required.

I think install time is way too late to be doing prompting for
firmware because you can't download WiFi firmware over WiFi if you
don't have the WiFi firmware yet, possibly the same with some Ethernet
cards. That seems to be the biggest problem with non-free firmware
people are having. So, we need to move the non-free firmware or no
non-free firmware choice earlier in the process, to before the d-i ISO
has been downloaded. In addition, for a lot of users it is difficult
to impossible to determine which hardware they have, let alone if it
requires firmware or if that firmware is free, non-free but available
in Debian, non-free+redistributable but not in Debian or even
non-redistributable entirely. By enhancing win32-loader (and creating
similar tools for distros/Android/macOS) and promoting that as the
primary install mechanism for Debian, we can detect the firmware
requirements of the current system and educate the user about those,
including the downsides of that firmware being non-free or
non-redistributable. If we did this we could even drop the ISOs that
contain non-free firmware.

> I'd avoid emotional words entirely. Just say that non-free firmware is
> provided as-is and does not allow modifications to fix bugs or add
> functionality, in contrast with the vast majority of the software in
> Debian, which does guarantee those properties.

Seems reasonable, as long as we indicate which actors are responsible
for that situation, for example it should say "<vendor> does not allow
modification ..." or "The company that built your device does not
allow modification..." etc. We don't want people to be blaming Debian
for the non-freeness on their systems.

> I have no illusions that a competitor to x86 will magically be more free.

RISC-V is definitely not going to be more free than x86 (except if you
are a CPU/SoC vendor), though there are some parts of that ecosystem
that definitely will be open down to the silicon designs sent to

> I would just keep it neutral and stick to facts.

It would probably be a good idea to link to the free/SC/DFSG pages on
the website in addition.