Linked by ddc_ on Thu 2nd Feb 2012 23:22 UTC
Slackware, Slax There are different reasons people use Unix-like operating systems, including configurable, availability free of charge, powerful command line interface an many more. Some people are motivated by the moral issue: they reject non-free software. Specifically for such users Free Software Foundation developed Guidelines for Free System Distributions and created the list of absolutely free ("as in freedom") distributions. In this article we are going to look at the most recent entry on the list - Parabola GNU/Linux.
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RE[2]: Nonfree firmware
by r_a_trip on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 12:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Nonfree firmware"
r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

How about just enabling the non-free repository and install the firmware from there?

Why jump through unnecesarry hoops on an artificially crippled machine to just go and "taint" it anyways? Just to satisfy an academic desire for ideological purity?

There is nothing wrong with aggregating these distributable blobs on the disk itself and ask the user if he wants to "taint" his system with non-free firmware during setup. Enabling the non-free repositories after the fact is the same principle, just a lot more user hostile. All just for the privilege of claiming that the base OS doesn't contain non-free software and still being blasted by RMS for the existence of a non-free repository.

So purely Free Distro's are generally a crippled PITA on current hardware and every moderate distro is a breeze to use, with all hardware supported out of the box.

Firmware is practically hardware. A firmware blob only works on the device it is intended for. In the off chance that flipping a few bits around in these files suddenly makes a scsi controller produce ponies and rainbows, we can probably agree that is an advantage we can live without.

This "everything FOSS or die" stance doesn't really make sense in the case of firmware. RMS himself has indicated that he wouldn't care one iota about it if that same firmware was just burned indelibly into ROM. So this isn't truly about being able to study and modify the firmware. This is just the academic case of "the vendor can modify it, so we should be able to do so too".

Before anybody trots out the "We don't know what that firmware does and with a Free Software license we can study it". Just let the above sink in. If the firmware spies on you, kills kittens and makes Whoville women pregnant, that is only an issue when it is distributed as a blob. As soon as it is burned fixed into ROM, it doesn't concern Free Software according to RMS.

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