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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] The "Free" Kernel In Debian Squeeze

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] The "Free" Kernel In Debian Squeeze
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 18:32:09 -0500

It sounds like the new Debian version of Linux will recommend
specific nonfree firmware programs, which is undesirable.

I talked with Alexandre a few months ago, and we decided to change the
way Linux Libre deals with outside nonfree firmware.

The current practice is to change the code to fail instead of trying
to load any firmware.

The change is to obfuscate the names of the firmware files in the
Linux source code.  That way, if a user tracks down what firmware to
install and installs it under the name that the code wants, it will.
But Linux Libre will still not suggest installation of the nonfree
firmware file to handle a particular device.

In either case, it is possible to run the nonfree software.  Free
software has no way to stop users from doing something, since users an
change it.

Alexandre, how is progress on this?

Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110

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