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Debian 6.0 To Feature a Completely Free Kernel

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the nothing-dirty dept.

Debian 283

dkd903 writes "The Debian Project has announced that the upcoming release — Debian 6.0 'Squeeze' — will have a completely free Linux kernel. This means that the Linux kernel which ships with Debian 6.0 will not have any non-free firmware. The Debian Project has been working on removing the non-free parts since the last two releases. With Squeeze, they are finally realizing that goal."

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Is the release with the FreeBSD Kernel? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579776)

Is the release with the FreeBSD Kernel? Oh, wait. There are proprietary bits in there too.

Re:Is the release with the FreeBSD Kernel? (1, Troll)

jefe7777 (411081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579868)

they're switching to openbsd. very open, I hear.

And freedomm tastes of reality... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579780)

I am free!

Re:And freedomm tastes of reality... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579838)

Of a working system.

Go to the mirror, boy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579854)

(BitTorrent not having been invented when the lyrics were written)

Completely free kernel? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579782)

So they are switching to BSD, I take it?

Re:Completely free kernel? (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579972)

So they are switching to BSD, I take it?

No, they are shipping a Linux system that doesn't run under any recent hardware.

Not that bad, assuming someone else will write a script that configures the system and loads all proprietary firmware.

I guess we need both kinds of people, the idealists that keep the system clean and the pragmatists that make the system work. Without them we would either be at the mercy of Microsoft or struggling to boot The Hurd.

Re:Completely free kernel? (4, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580152)

HURD might be finished if Linux hadn't attracted all the developer attention that wasn't going to the 386BSD derivatives.

Re:Completely free kernel? (3, Insightful)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580338)

Lol. Luckily I'm not drinking coffee right now.

Hurd is and has always been a lost case. No matter how many developers, if it's dead in the water, they can't breathe life in it.

RMS is great at many things, but attracting and sponsoring development on the order of scale as the Linux kernel and other high-profile projects, he's not. And that's a good thing, really. More legs to stand on and all that.

Re:Completely free kernel? (2, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580538)

Yep it's totally dead. It can't boot, and no one wants to waste time on it.

http://www.archhurd.org/ [archhurd.org]

Oh wait... Nevermind...

Re:Completely free kernel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580694)

Hurd used to be the proposed kernel for a fully free OS. Now, it's a research project in OS design.

Since Linux exists, there's no need for Hurd as anything more than a research project. No one outside of the OS research community cares about it anymore, not even RMS himself.

RMS attracted and sponsored development on the scale of the GNU project. GCC, which he initially wrote, is used everywhere. BASH is the standard UNIX shell.

Re:Completely free kernel? (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580786)

GCC, which he initially wrote, is used everywhere.

Wrong. GCC was a modification of a previous compiler, Pastel, to compile C code. And when it was rewritten Len Tower did most of the work.

Re:Completely free kernel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580452)

No way. GNU projects do not allow the chaotic early linux kernel development attitude.

Re:Completely free kernel? (3, Insightful)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580854)

No way. GNU projects do not allow the chaotic early linux kernel development attitude.

Better chaotic development than no development.

Re:Completely free kernel? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580612)

HURD might be finished if Linux hadn't attracted all the developer attention that wasn't going to the 386BSD derivatives.

HURD didn't go anywhere before Linux and the other free Unix derivites came on the scene, and even with all that code now available to steal from, it still hasn't gone anywhere. First time I heard about it, many years ago, they were arguing about which kernel to base it on. Last time I heard about it, they had gotten to the point that they were trying to decide which kernel to base it on. Guess where they will be 10 years from now.

Re:Completely free kernel? (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580736)

No it wouldn't. The Hurd is the Duke Nukem Forever of kernels because the developers suffer the same issues with delivering as George Broussard did.

Re:Completely free kernel? (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580828)

HURD might be finished if Linux hadn't attracted all the developer attention that wasn't going to the 386BSD derivatives.

Didn't HURD have about 10 years of development before Linus wrote Linux?

Re:Completely free kernel? (2)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580480)

So they are switching to BSD, I take it?

No, they are shipping a Linux system that doesn't run under any recent hardware.

Not that bad, assuming someone else will write a script that configures the system and loads all proprietary firmware.

I'm guessing that script will be called "Ubuntu".

Re:Completely free kernel? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580684)

> I guess we need both kinds of people, the idealists that keep the system clean and the pragmatists that make the system work. Without them we would either be at the mercy of Microsoft or struggling to boot The Hurd.

WOW. One of the best commentaries I've read in a long time in /. about ideology.

Very nice.

Re:Completely free kernel? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580806)

"doesn't run under any recent hardware"

What planet are you on? Apart from the wireless chip on one of my laptops, none of my three systems (all fairly vanilla) require any proprietary firmware.

I get your point, but you are exaggerating greatly.

Re:Completely free kernel? (4, Insightful)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580878)

That's not necessarily true. A lot of very common modern hardware runs on open drivers. The only places where there's any real trouble is graphics and wifi. As graphics go, Intel is fully open (aside from the GMA 500) and you'd be surprised how good their recent chips have gotten. The GMA 945 stuff, frankly, gave them a bad rep they don't really deserve anymore. But still, if you want top of the line, you'll probably want to go with an AMD or nVidia card, and a closed driver.

As wifi goes, there are plenty of choics out there you can get that are supported by a fully open driver. I have a DLink wireless-n card in my desktop that's supported wonderfully by the fully open ath9k driver. You don't need a firmware blob or anything.

So, the situation is wrt hardware is much better than it has been, and if you're the sort of person who cares about purity you can achieve it with a small amount of effort.

Re:Completely free kernel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580922)

For most end users it might not be a big concern to use the nonfree rep, but for a company that build a product around linux-say a broadband router, it might be nice to know that the distro is "clean".

Which will essentially cause nothing more than... (4, Insightful)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579790)

More threads on the Internet of people going, 'I can't find ucide-34235.fw' and 'why doesn't my wireless card work?!'

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579916)

No, there are principles involved. This is important, and fuck you if you don't understand that. Code doesn't operate in a vacuum absent social effects, and it's important geeks realise that, and don't fall for the lie that technical correctness or just working at all is all that matters.

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580102)

We understand very well. You are a social misfit, probably an autist. It is you that needs to understand something, that life is made of compromises, and the world has seven billion people, it is not just you. Compromise a bit, and stop putting ideology in front of everything else.

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580260)

Your Wrong. REAL LIFE Technology has a use to DO SOMETHING!. Technical correctness is a tool to save us from problems. However it is not the end all be all. In order to get things to work you may need to break the Purity rules to get it to work.

A kernel that is all Free just means there is less hardware supported. It doesn't mean things run better. It is really just a loose loose situation.

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580376)

Only this sort of insistence on purity is what gives us any FREE drivers at all. You might as well go use a closed OS.

Sure not everyone needs to go this way, but if none do no progress will ever be made.

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (3, Informative)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580038)

Actually, from what I've heard (yeah anecdotal, I know)
Non-free binary-blob firmware in the kernel is fast becoming a non-issue
With the success of Android and other non-x86 Linux based devices, having a closed CPU specific blob is not an option anymore if you want device makers to use your hardware

I think you'll find Debian is doing this now, because now most devices have open firmware code that can be compiled for different architectures

Just look at this
http://packages.debian.org/source/sid/firmware-nonfree [debian.org]
Only 14 packages are in the Debian firmware-nonfree repository
That's nothing

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580212)

Except one of those 14 packages is a meta-package with about 75 [debian.org] binary firmwares, including microcode for all Radeon cards for example.

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (1)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580352)

AMD opened up the firmware for all their graphics cards more than 2 years ago
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_microcode&num=1 [phoronix.com]

I'm not sure what those things are you've pointed out
Possibly old legacy firmware images that are being kept for some reason?

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (3, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580096)

This is comfortably a self solving issue.

You can only complain about your network problem if you can get on the network.

*grin*

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580194)

"More threads on the Internet of people going, 'I can't find ucide-34235.fw' and 'why doesn't my wireless card work?!'"

New users should be discouraged from trying to use plain Debian as their introductory system. Debian should be kept pure and advanced with pure Free and Open goals in mind, but noobs don't need that in most cases.

Different tools for different jobs.

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (2, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580336)

Not really.

All of it is simply in the linux-firmware-nonfree package now.

Typing this on a Lenny Mac mini G4 with a backported kernel package and with the radeon happily loading its non-free firmware out of the similarly backported non-free firmware package. Ditto for my G4 Powerbook (TiBook), ditto for my spare laptop which is a HP NC4000 in need for a non-free wireless card driver, firmware (non-free) for the onboard radeon and so on.

The only missing bit last time I checked was however something which is quite important - the nvidia packages. By the way the NV drviver is absolutely not an answer here and not for performance reasons. NV does not have working power management. On half of the hardware currently shipping out there it is a sure way to fry your card. It may not be fried immediately. It may take months or even a year or two for it to die, but die it will and it will die prematurely. That has been actually been the case for 5+ years now.

So unless Debian wants to take the responsibility for something that can actually damage people PCs they will have to swallow the bitter pill and find a way to ship nvidia drivers (and have them properly configured powerwise which by the way no Linux distro does at present). It is not that difficult: http://foswiki.sigsegv.cx/bin/view/Net/LinuxNvidia [sigsegv.cx]

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580402)

It reminds me of what Eric Redmond said in one of his books on Linux. He wrote a fairly insightful book called the Cathedral and the Bizzare that examined the differences between the open source community and proprietary closed systems. He had a lot of pros for the open source side, but his one major con, in his words was:

Linux is only free if your time has no value

This Debian solution will waste more of people's precious time. What is the value added from that???

Re:Which will essentially cause nothing more than. (1)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580546)

All you have to do is enable the non-free repositories. They've removed it from the standard install.

It will essentially cause this though:
Me to be able to run a system free of binary blobs and sourceless turds in my kernel.
More ease of troubleshooting problems with system devices.
A kernel with less licensing and freedom issues.

Nvidia (-1, Redundant)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579794)

So...those of us with Nvidia graphics cards are boned even harder now? Sweet...

Re:Nvidia (4, Informative)

JonJ (907502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579908)

Your post isn't even remotely relevant to the topic. Debian never has, and never will, ship binary nvidia drivers, these need to be installed after your base system is up and running and you've turned on the non-free repository. Basic display drivers or nouveau will work without closed source firmware.

Re:Nvidia (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579976)

yeah, you have to run sudo NVIDIA-Linux-x86-260.19.29.run, such a boning.

Re:Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580108)

It's more of a boning when you're trying to do a netinstall and the installer disc no longer has your "non-free" NIC driver.

Re:Nvidia (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580276)

It's more of a boning when you're trying to do a netinstall and the installer disc no longer has your "non-free" NIC driver.

My favorite was having to compile my ethernet drivers for a fairly recent version of solaris (8 or 9),

The hardware was either intel or realtek, so not exactly off the beaten path.

An entire DVD, and they couldn't figure out how to shoehorn in some binary ethernet drivers.

Re:Nvidia (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580588)

I feel sorry for you if your NIC requires firmware of any kind.

Fucking cheapass manufacturers. Put a fucking ROM on it!

Re:Nvidia (2)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579982)

Nope, there's free drivers that provide basic functionality with NVidia cards, and once you're booted and on the net, you can still go ahead and install the non-free drivers from Debian's non-free repo.

Wait! When did Debian ever provide NVidia's non-free drivers in main? This is about firmware blobs, and as far as I know, NVidia cards need drivers, not firmware. AFAIK, NVidia users are no more or less boned than they were before.

Networking in nForce and ION (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580284)

there's free drivers that provide basic functionality with NVidia cards, and once you're booted and on the net, you can still go ahead and install the non-free drivers from Debian's non-free repo.

Are we talking only about NVIDIA video or also the networking functionality in NVIDIA chipsets (nForce, ION)?

Re:Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580918)

If you even remotely knew what you were talking about, you wouldn't have said that.

If you don't need to play games or use flashy BS desktops, then all you need is the built in nv drivers.

If you really, truly, needed the graphics acceleration from an nvidia card, you would know you install the farking nvidia driver from nvidia's website!!! OMG NO WAIS!

It's fast, easy, and works.

gNewSense (2)

willoughby (1367773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579814)

So they're finally catching up with gNewSense. This is very cool. It's not for everyone but it's great to have it available.

Re:gNewSense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580366)

That name is so atrocious I wish I could unsee it.

Re:gNewSense (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580436)

So they're finally catching up with gNewSense. This is very cool. It's not for everyone but it's great to have it available.

gNewSense probably has almost as much non-free software in it as Debian, if not more, because debian has more people looking over source files for license violations.

Most of the non-free software is non-free common in free distributions is old, and nobody knows exactly who wound up with it when the original company went under or was bought out and sold off a few times.

There was a redhat engineer (IIRC) that posted a fairly long blog about getting a small program released as opensource software. Most of his time was spent on tracking down the owner, and convincing the owner that they owned the software, they then had to verify that the software was theirs before they would release it.

Debian wrote license check, not gnewsense. and if you don't run license check, an dmanually inspect the warnings. I don't really know how you know what the license of all the programs on you r machines are.

Re:gNewSense (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580696)

Most of the non-free software is non-free common in free distributions is old,

Ouch. My brain hurts. What exactly are you trying to say there?

Or was your intent to inflict pain upon anyone reading that? If so, it worked, you bastard. :)

Sweet (3, Informative)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579820)

Even more people who will just download the "non-free" stuff immediately upon installing. Extra steps FTW

Re:Sweet (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579922)

Those people are using Ubuntu, not Debian (usually).

Re:Sweet (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580634)

Ubuntu releases new versions faster than Microsoft releases Service Packs. That's why I choose Debian if I need Linux. However, I want my stuff to work and I do not care about non-free software, well, as long as I (legally) do not need to pay for it. I have installed Debian on a few desktops and I also installed proprietary video card drivers (where they were needed), Adobe Flash, video codecs, Mozilla Firefox...

And if I need a device that works with Linux, I still do not care about open or closed source drivers. And this is when I am buying the device knowing that it will need to work with Linux. I would never buy a device just because it has "free" drivers, as long as the "non-free" drivers for the device that I already have work. If they do not and I really need a device that works with Linux, the the openness of the driver source is quite low priority - I need a device that works (with Linux, even if the drivers are closed source), has the functions that I want, is not very expensive etc.

Great (0, Troll)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579822)

Whoa! I can't express how excited I am about this, it's going to change the way I "experience" my computer. It will happen on a much more intimate level from now on, knowing that there are no proprietary firmware blobs inside.

Re:Great (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579910)

It will happen on a much more intimate level from now on, knowing that there are no proprietary firmware blobs inside.

And that your video card or something doesn't work.

The first thing I thought when I read this was "what does it break"? There must be a reason this stuff was in the kernel.

Sounds like a political statement to me. Of course, I love this part from the article:

it is still not free according to FSF’s definition because of the presence of the non-free repository.

It's like a Monty Python sketch or something.

Re:Great (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580094)

I am having a hard time with this, too. In a sense, everyone will just tick the non-free repos back into existence after installing so this is really just the introduction of extra nuisance to the users (which linux sure does need... NOT.)

Thinking a little longer about it, maybe this has implications in shipping/selling truly unencumbered pre-loaded hardware/virtual platforms based on Linux? Thanks to the lack of fear that some evil megacorp will come hunt you down for including a copyrighted wifi firmware in your seemingly harmless mini-firewall gadget. Maybe this has positive implications (although i am still not 100% convinced that it's just a show of idealism that will hurt Joe user.)

Re:Great (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580290)

Those folks would use ubuntu, not debian.

Joe user will never see this.

Re:Great (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580158)

So by "intimate level" you mean spending hours trying to get things to work properly. Good luck with that.

Re:Great (2)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580532)

I was thinking of sitting there beside the computer, quietly cherishing the Freedom it contains.

Second (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579834)

Hah

Fundamentalism sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579844)

If you want your market share to grow, spend more effort on improvements which actually make a practical difference to users and less effort on idealism.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579846)

Is this more of a "Free as in speech" rather than "Free as in beer" change?

Great news! (4, Interesting)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579876)

I can think of at least two distros (gNewSense: http://www.gnewsense.org/ [gnewsense.org] and Trisquel: http://trisquel.info/ [trisquel.info] ) that are the result of people working diligently to comb through the entire Ubuntu distro (not just the kernel) and checking modules/programs/packages for license compatibility. Binary blobs and other non-free kernel modules have always been a concern.

Bravo!

Re:Great news! (0)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580640)

Will gNewSense 3.0 be based on Debian instead of Ubuntu, and why?

Yes, because:

        * Debian separates free and non-free software better, so it's easier to make a fully free derivative out of it.
        * Debian supports the architectures we want to support (e.g. MIPS).
        * it suits our infrastructure better (easier development).

Not for long. Fuck Ubuntu.

Actual article (3, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579892)

Here's the actual article [debian.org] , as opposed to a link to what I presume is somebody's blog. Took me all of two seconds to find. In any case, as I expected, the "non-free" firmware will be available from the official non-free repository. The only thing we really need now is for someone to provide a minor-variant boot/install disc that includes the non-free network drivers, and everybody should be happy. (No, I'm not volunteering--my hardware works.)

You're kidding. Right? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579914)

Freetard Linux FTF!!!!

Remember all that FUD about not needing command line for basic installs of Linux? Well... Debian is bringing the command line back from the brink. LOLZZZZ!!!!onehundredeleven!!!

Re:You're kidding. Right? (3, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580046)

Frankly, I think GUIs are oppressive. I long for the freedom and ideological purity of the text-based Listro.

Re:You're kidding. Right? (1)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580200)

May I suggest a roll your own distro?

http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ [linuxfromscratch.org]

Re:You're kidding. Right? (1, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580394)

How do I know that website is freeware? I'm not clicking on that.

Aren't Fedora kernels free already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34579918)

Isn't this just what Fedora has been for a long time? I mean shipped completely free for closed source drivers. No?

No, not drivers. Firmware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580464)

Think Win modems. Remember those? They didn't have their firmware permanently stored on the device. Rather, it was loaded onto the device from windows. It made them cheaper to produce.

Well, Linus allowed some similar binary firmware blobs into the kernel just for that purpose. They aren't drivers ( communication between hardware and the kernel), they're firmware ( software for the hardware to run itself).

Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (3, Informative)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34579942)

This is indeed a wonderful accomplishment and the Debian team deserves a lot of praise for what must have been a lot of hard work, however, I wonder if they're shooting themselves in the foot and removing hardware support. One of the things that drove me to Ubuntu over Debian on my laptop has been that Ubuntu is willing to package binary blobs for drivers. Nothing is quite as frustrating as getting a system installed only to find that some piece of hardware isn't detected right and is non-functional... particularly when it's something critical like network drivers.

I am very pleased that Debian has been able to get so far while maintaining such integrity to it's mission. I really respect that. But at the end of the day, I want a system that I can use.

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580082)

That is just it. Do they have a list of things that are now flat out broken?

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (0, Offtopic)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580092)

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, people ask if I'm an idiot. When I tell people they should be FORCED to give the poor food, they call me a Communist.

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580214)

Could you be more dramatic about is essentially a luxury?

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580388)

Computer software is not a luxury in today's context. Perhaps this was true in the earlier years of computer but not any more. This analogy is spot on.

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580304)

If you don't understand why each of those responses is thoroughly appropriate, then the second group's description of you is right on.

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580322)

When people realize you do not see feeding the poor as your moral obligation they call you uncivilized scum.

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580492)

Yes but they call the Irish uncivilized as well, as opposed to the British English (yes, the Irish are now owned by England, as well as the Scotts) and the Americans.

The Irish are "uncivilized" because, while the British might tell you to "fick off ya miserable cunt," the Irish will just slug you in the face. Violence is uncivilized.

I have at times felt the need to explain the cultural advancement of the Irish against the cultural failure of the British and Americans. You see, one day the British government will shift to a totallitarian regime; and then they will have a civil war with the Irish, because the Irish will decide they need to collectively slug British Parliament-Emperor in the mouth. When this happens in America, we will all remember that violence is bad and that bloody revolutions should be avoided at all costs.

Cue people shooting off at the mouth about "the revolution about to come" who won't honestly do anything but shout loudly from their armchairs when it's really time to go beheading whoever's in washington 20 years or so from now. It'll be like the French revolution... except we'll stop at the "lots of complaining" part, whereas the French eventually moved on to "beheading everyone in the aristocracy."

An armed society is not a polite society. An armed society is a dictatorial nightmare; you don't want to try to establish a totalitarian regime under an evil dictator when half the country is liable to ask who the fuck you are and show up with guns or just bricks in their hands. It doesn't work out well. The people are rude and violent to begin with; now they're rude, violent, and very much don't like you.

People are very bad at a lot of things. Least of all deciding what's good for "everybody" ... we instead look at a few "unfortunate" cases and decide to eliminate "unpleasant elements." Try that when playing Go: you'll over-concentrate, gaining good local positions but losing whole board control and always losing the game, probably horribly. Sometimes it's better to leave some of the ugly alone.

Re:Fantastic Accomplishment... but risky (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580236)

My take on this: Debian is much more tied to the FSF philosophy than most of the other distros. That's their way of doing things. That means that the baseline distribution needs to be Free Software.

I see two major points of this kind of effort:
1. We get to see how functional entirely Free systems really are. Maybe you don't need the latest and greatest nVidia drivers to still have a machine that does what you need it to do.
2. In an absolutely Free Software world, the binary blobs and the like were stopgap measures at best. This could potentially motivate people to make Free replacements.

Now, both of these assume that you have the goal of running entirely Free Software. But if you have that goal, then this is completely logical and worthwhile.

Will kill the project (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580078)

Unless they make it REAL easy to install non-free components this will just serve to marginalize the project and effect its future. Sure 'geeks' will get by just fine but if the 2nd tier user has to fight to get something to work, they will switch to somethign else in a heartbeat.

Which is a shame, as its the most 'UNIXy' Linux out there and one of the oldest.

Sometimes 'morals' will come back to bite you.

Re:Will kill the project (5, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580182)

From the Debian site:

"In accordance with the Debian Social Contract, we acknowledge that some users require the use of works that do not conform to the DFSG and that those works might include non-free firmware bits. For the time being, we have added to the "non-free" area of our archives alternative installation images and additional packages for Debian Squeeze, that include non-free firmware bits needed to enable specific pieces of hardware. They are not part of Debian, they should be looked for explicitly by interested users, and we cannot support them to the same extent of Free firmware as we do not have access to the corresponding source code. We encourage hardware manufacturers to release only DFSG-free firmware and we cannot accept other kind of firmware as part of Debian."

The sky is, in fact, not falling...

Re:Will kill the project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580230)

Debian has never, and will never be a distribution for people that can't add the non-free repo and install what they need.

It's always been more of a meta-distribution, a base on which to build other distributions. This will make it _more_ attractive for that purpose, not less.

Re:Will kill the project (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580238)

nano /etc/apt/sources.list , add: contrib non-free after "main" on each line. Then: apt-get update

Re:Will kill the project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580774)

*ahem* Stop spreading FUD. You're aware that Ubuntu pulls from Debian, right?

Geeks can choose Debian or Ubuntu.
Non-geeks will stick with Ubuntu.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Try this: (2)

dfsmith (960400) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580154)

sudo apt-get install ubuntu
should fix any problems.

It's getting harder to run Debian, which is a shame. I am slowly but steadily converting my machines to Ubuntu just because I don't have time to mess about with drivers any more. (Typically 1 machine a year; when I need an app that won't run under 'stable' without munching in a half-GB of 'testing' libraries.

Squeeze user here (3, Informative)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580202)

First thing I on a fresh system (and I install a lot of fresh systems due to testing that goes horribly wrong :) Just put this in your sources.list and your fine. deb http://mirrors.nl.kernel.org/debian/ [kernel.org] squeeze main contrib non-free deb-src http://mirrors.nl.kernel.org/debian/ [kernel.org] squeeze main contrib non-free deb http://security.debian.org/ [debian.org] squeeze/updates main contrib non-free deb-src http://security.debian.org/ [debian.org] squeeze/updates main contrib non-free deb http://deb.opera.com/opera-beta/ [opera.com] squeeze non-free deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org/ [debian-multimedia.org] squeeze main non-free After that I down the catalyst drivers from ati. And only then I start using the system. With all my closed-source goodies :D I love it!

Honestly (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580316)

The only people who really care about this sort of thing anymore are ideologues. Otherwise, this has little to no value to end users or their computing experience.

Re:Honestly (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580444)

Or happen to want stability and no random crashes you cannot debug. Go read lkml and similar lists about the frequency of crashes due to dodgy proprietary drivers.

Re:Honestly (2)

jensend (71114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580564)

And all zero of the posts about crashes due to firmware being distributed with the kernel. How did you get the idea that the topic at hand had anything to do with proprietary drivers?

Re:Honestly (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580474)

It could also be said that the only people who will look at this as a bad thing are ideologues...

Re:Honestly (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580580)

Who is saying it's a bad thing? I see some people who think it's good and many more who don't really care, but nobody is saying this is bad.

Re:Honestly (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580622)

Yeah the OP didn't say it was bad, just that it had "little to no value to end users". Another person upthread claimed this will "kill the project". I realize he didn't say "This is bad", but saying it will "kill the project" or offers "little to no value", isn't exactly merely "not really caring".

Re:Honestly (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580928)

Thankfully, us ideologues do exist and are willing to fight against computer proprietarization while we still can and aren't going to wait until everyone is running an iPad-like walled garden with the US government holding a backdoor key. These things do have long-term consequences.

Thanks to Alexandre Oliva of Linux-libre (4, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580334)

This is the result of a few years of work by Alexandre Oliva (FSFLA), who worked on the Linux-libre project and travelled to give presentations about the amount of non-free software in the default Linux kernel.

http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/ [unicamp.br]
http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/selibre/linux-libre/ [fsfla.org]

(it's also generally thanks to the gNewSense guys, Paul O'Malley & Brian Brazil in Ireland, who worked on the general issue of non-free software in distros, but the specific work on the kernel was championed by Alexandre.)

In the end this is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580362)

I think it's important to have a 100% free system that can never be litigated away or whatever (you know, sued into oblivion by a rich competitor like Microsoft or Apple). You're still free to add whatever non-free stuff you want while being confident in the knowledge that your distro will never go away.

Just installed a new squeeze system, no prob (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580396)

I always use testing (stable's too dull and experimental too exciting), so I'm currently on squeeze.

Just bought a new Core i3 server system, Asus Mini-ATX mobo, built in video, built in gigE for house side, added an old PCI 10/100 Eth card for cable modem side, Intel SSD for /, 1TB SATA for /data, 4 GB RAM. Cheap as hell, like $250 for the whole thing.

No hardware issues at all so far, everything just seems to work. It's firewalling, media serving, web serving, and all the other bits you'd expect it to do. But it's running headless now so not exercising video or audio.

Cool! Catching up to what OpenBSD has been doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580422)

OpenBSD has been blob free for a long time. actually, it was probably always blob free.

the increased pressure by major Linux distros that will force vendor to release all details of their firmware and allow completely free reimplementation will make it better for everyone.

but yeah, it's going to hurt in the short term, and a lot of people will use workarounds to install blobs to make sure they can actually use their computers/print/use their wireless card....

Good luck!

Debian Linux... (1)

squallstrifeau (1942392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580676)

...cheaper than the pills for your OCD.

I don't get it (4, Insightful)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580822)

Non-free, closed-source binary blobs running on the CPU in the kernel are bad, I fully agree. They can corrupt system memory in terrible, subtle ways, and without the source code it's nearly impossible to diagnose problems. Non-free, closed-source binary blobs running on an external device with completely separate microcontroller, RAM, etc? What's wrong with that?

The whole point of having firmware in an external device is to separate/wall-off the functionality of that device from the general-purpose CPU and memory. In fact I can't think of a single device in a modern computer system that doesn't have some sort of firmware. Not all devices have loadable firmware like the ones Debian is targeting, but who gives a crap if it's loadable or not? In fact I would rather that every device have loadable (or at least flashable) firmware so that I can upgrade it or get bugfixes from the vendor.

The usual argument against these firmwares goes something like, "IO devices have access to full system memory, and are thus unsafe unless we see their firmware." Well, any IO device has access to system memory whether or not it has firmware. A buggy piece of firmware-free hardware can just as easily scribble on anything in memory or generate a flood of interrupts or whatever as something with firmware. This requirement is tantamount to requiring all the RTL for every device attached to the computer, which is certainly not going to happen.

Somewhere (0)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580880)

Stallman has heard the news, and had an orgasm.
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