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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Reviewing ConnochaetOS

From: Ivan Zaigralin
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Reviewing ConnochaetOS
Date: Sun, 06 Aug 2017 16:13:14 -0700
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On Monday, August 07, 2017 00:10:39 Henry Jensen wrote:
> Am Sun, 06 Aug 2017 14:27:01 -0700 (PDT)
> > But if your decision is to continue to push back on this and leave the
> > request_firmware calls in place and unmodified, then I think my review
> > of ConnochaetOS is over.
> That is, of course, for you to decide. However, I didn't found any
> official statement (meaning a statement at or, that
> writing names of proprietary firmware files in a log file are rendering
> a distro not recommendable or a software as not usable in a fully free
> distro. Some random messages on this list are not official
> statements.

Well said. I think, if ConnOS makes the leap towards official FSDG 
certification, it will be worthwhile to explain the difference between Debian 
kernel packages and the ConnOS kernel package.

Just because the kernel is capable of loading a firmware file which bears the 
symbolic name of an extant nonfree firmware blob, it's hard to see how FSDG is 
violated. The problem with Debian is that their "free" installer will 
literally prompt for a USB with nonfree drivers at installation time if one of 
these turd-chips is detected. From what I learned about ConnOS, its kernel 
package does no such thing. In the absence of the (nonfree) firmware file it 
simply moves on with a terse message in the log, stating that file was not 

I personally think the difference is huge, even though the kernel is deblobbed 
in a similar way. If my understanding is correct, then I don't see how one can 
argue that ConnOS guides users toward nonfree firmware.

I was also amused to find out that Linux-libre decided to ignore RMS' 
suggestion and blacklist the blobs rather than obfuscate the calls :) It 
certainly helps to explain ConnOS' stance on why the Libre-linux approach is 
not that great either. I personally think that either approach is perfectly 
sufficient, and neither is heavy-handed, but I can also totally appreciate 
when a maintainer opts towards the Debian way for technical reasons. 

And here's another thought, besides the point raised above, but still 
pertinent: who in a 1000 years would use ConnOS and its deblobbed kernel in 
conjunction with nonfree firmware? Crazy people? ConnOS is the poor robot's 
Slackware, no offense meant. It is a fact of life that Slackware to this day 
has no close-source components besides the kernel, so anyone dropping a 
nonfree kernel into ConnOS (or FXP/Freenix, same deal) is not thinking 
straight: they are essentially getting the stock Slackware back, after jumping 
through a series of flaming hoops. Sure, there are things like xv and xgames 
and fractint in Slackware, but they and all the other nonfree packages are 
museum pieces at this point in history. When it comes to users' freedom, they 
make virtually no difference in practical terms. OK, so there's also mozilla, 
but again, free-e-fied ice* packages are available from various binary repos, 
so the objections about the way the kernel is deblobbed are missing the point.

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