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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: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 17:51:08 -0500

    Now, if the latter approach (mangling blob names in the request, but not
    in the source code per se) is acceptable, an even simpler approach might
    work: one with even greater odds of being accepted upstream: introducing
    some means for userland to tell the kernel which pieces of firmware are
    available, so that the kernel does not even ask for those that aren't.

I don't see how that helps.  Whether Linux gets a list of available
firmware from a certain directory or in some other way, the issues
remain (1) what it does when it wants a firmware program that is not
present and (2) whether the source code shows the name of that
firmware program.

    I've been thinking about these options because AFAICT distros such as
    Fedora are leaning towards offering users more choice as to which pieces
    of firmware to install, what licenses to use, etc, but they're planning
    to do so in userland: the userland hotplug script called by the kernel
    to load a piece of firmware would obtain information about it from
    configured repositories and offer users (or not) the choice of
    installing it if it's not installed yet.

I don't see that this makes any difference.  I don't see that it would
affect anything for Linux Libre.  Regardless of precisely how it will
deal with the case where Linux asks for a nonfree firmware program,
what we want to do is stop that from happening at all.

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

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