Linked by crystall on Tue 21st Dec 2010 22:35 UTC
Debian and its clones The Debian project will release the new stable version of debian - Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" - with a completely free Linux kernel. Binary-only firmware and other non-free kernel components will only be available via the non-free repositories and the project is actively encouraging vendors that have not done so already to release their firmware in a form compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
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RE: Doesn't go far enough
by crystall on Wed 22nd Dec 2010 18:26 UTC in reply to "Doesn't go far enough"
crystall
Member since:
2007-02-06

Jokes aside you are making a very valid point, more and more software is being used on our machines (think about SSD controllers firmware) and we have no control over it, nor the source is available. This exposes us to two problems:

- support, if the vendor responsible for your hardware decides that it isn't worth to keep old firmware up to date you might end up with bugs which will never be fixed

- security, bugs in those firmwares could be responsible for new vulnerabilities and attack vectors and again you'd have no control over it nor the possibility to fix them unless the vendor issues an update

All in all I think that Debian's choice is not ideological, it's very pragmatical and involves on-board firmwares too. Not being able to control them leaves us exposed to all the problems involved with proprietary code and closed architectures.

Finally we have already seen quite a bit of firmware-based differentiation lately, with performance or feature caps enforced by software. I expect more to come in the future and that's why it is in the user's best interest to be able to control what they buy and do what they want with their hardware.

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