Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Tue 25th Jan 2011 14:25 UTC, submitted by fsmag
Debian and its clones "The Debian project has now announced that from the release of Squeeze (Debian 6.0) their GNU/Linux kernels will be available without the non-free blobs."
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Not the kernel
by Soulbender on Tue 25th Jan 2011 23:09 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Binary firmware drivers really have nothing to do with the kernel (other than that the kernel loads them into the hardware).
On the other hand, reading the article the author seems to confuse kernel drivers with firmware:

They are so worried that we — or maybe their competitors — will ruin their pension funds that they just “can’t” release the source to make their hardware do what they claim it does. Never mind that we might actually help (as we have with other more-free hardware)


This is complaint is most often, and rightly, directed at kernel *drivers*, not binary firmware. To be honest, I don't know of any hardware manufacturers that have open-source firmware.

At the other end of the scale are those that include any piece of software with the aim of making everything “just work”.


And now he's talking about software...

The truth is that as soon as it came to light that these blobs were to be included in the stock kernels, the Debian project started working to remove them.


You know, I really don't think it's that difficult to understand the difference between firmware and drivers.

In some cases free equivalents were created (by the community, not necessarily Debian) and in others the manufacturers bit the bullet (or saw the light depending on your viewpoint) and freed up the firmware.


Really??? The community has created open-source firmware replacements? Uh no, that's *drivers*, really.

After reading this "article" I really don't know if Debian is going to stop including binary blob drivers or binary blob firmware.

Seriosuly, wtf. This isn't rocket science.

Edited 2011-01-25 23:10 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Not the kernel
by crimperman on Wed 26th Jan 2011 14:41 UTC in reply to "Not the kernel"
crimperman Member since:
2006-11-09

This is complaint is most often, and rightly, directed at kernel *drivers*, not binary firmware. To be honest, I don't know of any hardware manufacturers that have open-source firmware.


LinkSys release theirs under the GPL - or at least they did last time I looked.

At the other end of the scale are those that include any piece of software with the aim of making everything “just work”.

And now he's talking about software...


Yes but in the context of GNU/Linux distribution philosophy. Licencing philosophies are easier to describe in terms people are used to - software for example.

In some cases free equivalents were created (by the community, not necessarily Debian) and in others the manufacturers bit the bullet (or saw the light depending on your viewpoint) and freed up the firmware.

Really??? The community has created open-source firmware replacements? Uh no, that's *drivers*, really.


Again routers are a good example. Community created firmware has existed for some time.

After reading this "article" I really don't know if Debian is going to stop including binary blob drivers or binary blob firmware.


To ease your confusion, perhaps you could have read the Debian news announcement linked to in the opening paragraph which specifically names firmware.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Not the kernel
by Soulbender on Wed 26th Jan 2011 16:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Not the kernel"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Why? I'ts not my job to write an accurate article.
Maybe the author should have taken the time to write one and I wouldn't have to look elsewhere to figure out wth he's talking about.

On a related note, the linksys example doesn't count since we are talking about hardware for computers here, not standalone units. Please let me know, for example, what network vendors have released their card firmware as open source and what open source firmware the community have created for this. Debian's statement isn't even about having open source firmware, it's about unclear and non-acceptable copyrights.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Not the kernel
by crimperman on Fri 28th Jan 2011 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not the kernel"
crimperman Member since:
2006-11-09

Please let me know, for example, what network vendors have released their card firmware as open source and what open source firmware the community have created for this.


Card firmware? Hmm I'm not sure but as an example, Intel released the ipw2100 chipset driver & firmware (used in mainboards and cards I believe) http://ipw2100.sourceforge.net/">on .

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Nth_Man
by Nth_Man on Fri 28th Jan 2011 10:50 UTC
Nth_Man
Member since:
2010-05-16

In http://newscenter.ti.com/Blogs/newsroom/archive/2010/06/22/ti-s-new... they say that Texas Instruments sells "LaunchPad, a complete development kit" and they talk about:

- flash programming, firmware debugging.

- Demo firmware to demonstrate the use of on-chip peripherals, including 10-bit ADC, comparators and internal temperature sensor.

- Open-source design allows developers to create their own hardware based on LaunchPad.

But I'm no expert, maybe someone with experience could confirm if the final firmware is really debuggable and programmable.

Reply Score: 1