[Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

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[Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby arochester » 2021-01-22 17:05

A post on the Debian developer list about issues installing the operating system on a laptop sparked a debate about whether Debian's free software principles have become a blocker to adoption.

Source - https://www.theregister.com/2021/01/22/ ... o_install/
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Bulkley » 2021-01-22 19:12

It's an old issue. Personally I think the non-free blobs should be included on all Debian install discs. The installer should explain what they are and leave the choice to the user.

I've been using Debian for a long time. I don't remember having to load non-free blobs back when my computer had a 586 CPU. Am I right about that or is my memory failing?
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby 4D696B65 » 2021-01-22 19:57

Bulkley wrote:I've been using Debian for a long time. I don't remember having to load non-free blobs back when my computer had a 586 CPU. Am I right about that or is my memory failing?

Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" released

February 6th, 2011

blah

blah blah

Another first is the completely free Linux kernel, which no longer contains problematic firmware files. These were split out into separate packages and moved out of the Debian main archive into the non-free area of our archive, which is not enabled by default. In this way Debian users have the possibility of running a completely free operating system, but may still choose to use non-free firmware files if necessary. Firmware files needed during installation may be loaded by the installation system; special CD images and tarballs for USB based installations are available too. More information about this may be found in the Debian Firmware wiki page.

blah blah blah
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Deb-fan » 2021-01-22 20:14

Think to whatever degree it always has been but it's well within the rights of the people associated with the Debian project to do what they see fit. I've never quite gotten it, though who am I to second guess such things ? It's clearly an important principle to the kickbooty folks who power Debian. Since it's important to them I have to respect that. Really view it as a non-issue, when someone considers all the MANY benefits of using Debian's stable releases, the clear upside, having to take a couple steps to get things setup which require non-free software pkgs is no big deal.

For anyone who is even remotely competent, everything is well documented and straight forward. Such things don't present much if any challenge and in my view it can't be considered any type of an imposition. Folks unable or unwilling to make any minor effort, don't choose Debian due to something like this ? It's their loss ...
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby LE_746F6D617A7A69 » 2021-01-22 20:44

arochester wrote:
A post on the Debian developer list about issues installing the operating system on a laptop sparked a debate about whether Debian's free software principles have become a blocker to adoption.

Source - https://www.theregister.com/2021/01/22/ ... o_install/


For me, it looks like some former Ubuntu users have realised that Ubuntu is an unstable crap. They have tried Debian - and *wow* - they have discovered that Debian has a strict policy for separating Free Software from untested, closed source crap.

Funny thing is, that they are claiming that by not including firmware blobs by default, the Debian project is less attractive - but somehow, it have attracted them ;)
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Bulkley » 2021-01-22 20:56

4D696B65, thanks for the Squeeze info. My old memory is intact! :D
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2021-01-23 09:50

The links for the unofficial images are given in the official installation guide, the download page for the images and on the Firmware page in the Debian wiki so I really don't see the problem. The only people being discouraged from using Debian by it not being stated on the home page are those who don't read the documentation so I would classify that as a feature rather than a bug.
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Deb-fan » 2021-01-24 13:57

^ +1 weed out some of the worst of the worst. Right at the get-go and hopefully before they post too many stupid questions in forums. :)

Quick frothing @ mouth Debian fanboi moment follows.

The first version of Debian (0.01) was released on September 15, 1993, and its first stable version (1.1) was released on June 17, 1996. The Debian Stable branch is the most popular edition for personal computers and servers. Debian is also the basis for many other distributions, most notably Ubuntu.


Snippet snatched from Google, though anyone whom wants to ... do the math, that's A LOT of time and energy the amazing folks involved with Debian have poured into creating and maintaining what I'd argue is the best operating system and supporting project on the planet. So yeppers, from my standpoint could care less about users who have an outlook like OMG, I actually have to do something for myself, learn something ?!! Oh gawds, that's terrible, OMG, so unfair ... blahblahblah, whaaa, sniffle, < more crying here.>

If a bunch of lazy, braindead people can't be imposed upon to learn anything about how to use an amazing operating system, good ... Leaves more Debian for the rest of us to enjoy. :D
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Bulkley » 2021-01-25 03:04

If a bunch of lazy, brain dead people can't be imposed upon to learn anything about how to use an amazing operating system . . .


That's exactly why so many use Windows. It's all well and good to insist that users learn computer literacy but maybe it would be better if computers, or at least computer manuals, were easier to get along with. Today I have tried to install two different OS's only to get to a cursor and not a clue what to do next; in both cases the install manuals were several years out of date and too much trouble to figure out. Debian is better but that may be only because I'm used to Debian manuals; to a total newbie they may be in a foreign language.
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Hallvor » 2021-01-25 09:58

It is a bad idea to distribute code by default that you can't fix, but I don't see a problem with a checkbox in the installer where the user is allowed to enable non-free sources, but also is thoroughly warned about the hazards. It is a possibility to educate new users.
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Bulkley » 2021-01-25 18:30

Hallvor wrote:It is a bad idea to distribute code by default that you can't fix, but I don't see a problem with a checkbox in the installer where the user is allowed to enable non-free sources, but also is thoroughly warned about the hazards. It is a possibility to educate new users.


+1.
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Deb-fan » 2021-01-26 13:56

More frothing follows. :D

If the people who actually contribute in some meaningful way, the one's who do all the work and effort it takes to have gotten the project to where it is and those which continue doing so want to include a box that says "click here" to have everything done for you automagically(including non-free this or that all setup for you) then hey, I will totally respect that decision too. It's an organization with formal procedures to define proposing such changes, if enough of those contributors actually agreed, discussion would have to take place, presumably reaching a vote and at some point a final determination.

However there must be reasons why Debian isn't setup to be something like Ubuntu. Also has to be more than a few reasons that Ubuntu is based on Debian and not the other way around. Honestly been griping about it since about the time I came to be aware of the facts of the situation. Why doesn't Debian just do xyz, what's all this about Ubuntu (and Canonical Inc,) when it's just another of a gazillion Debian remixes, only including everything non-free under the sun and motivated by being for profit ? The facts as to why are available to anyone interested enough to search.

Such facts, that being if the project were to change and start doing xyz for popularity could mean more users in the userbase, this isn't something lost on the people who keep the Debian project working, have apparently for somewhere around 30yrs, these are clearly some very intelligent folks but the most obvious reason things aren't that way, is because the people involved don't want it to be. Guess someone could say there are reasons people are using Debian and not the other way around. :P

While am frothing @ mouth also gotta say, good time to educate ? Give me a friggin break, are already dealing with people who won't do the most basic research, if they had they'd have seen the info that says Debian proper is not intended for brand new users, that getting this or that working will require additional steps, knowledge etc blahblah and people who can't be bothered to google "how to install Debian linux." By this point available in many languages, doubtless many a how to with pictures for those who don't like word thingies. All the documentation in the world isn't very helpful if nobody bothers reading any of it. Aka: Insist on being lazy and braindead types.

Personally if ever Debian does decide to shift gears and do things differently I'll still wuv Debian, will also still maintain a fundamental dislike of people who insist on being stupid and lazy. Until such time however am going to focus on appreciating all the time, talent, efforts, any expense or sacrafices people have devoted to the Debian project and for sharing that with whoever wants to be a part of it or benefit from those efforts.
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby LE_746F6D617A7A69 » 2021-01-26 21:04

Hallvor wrote:It is a bad idea to distribute code by default that you can't fix, but I don't see a problem with a checkbox in the installer where the user is allowed to enable non-free sources, but also is thoroughly warned about the hazards. It is a possibility to educate new users.
Actually, the Debian installer has that "checkbox", which enables non-free repos, and it allows to import missing firmware from f.e. an USB drive ...

Bulkley wrote:That's exactly why so many use Windows. It's all well and good to insist that users learn computer literacy but maybe it would be better if computers, or at least computer manuals, were easier to get along with. (...)
I Disagree.
1. MacOS users (and of course true Linux users) would say that Winblows is just shit - and IMO they would be right, because QA just doesn't exist in the Microshit corporation (just check the articles about how many times, just in the last year, the MS had introduced critical regressions in their OS :lol:
2. OS market share statistics are malformed (and btw: sponsored): average human uses a single laptop with MacOS/Winblows, and at least 3 other devices with Linux-based OS: WiFi Router, Smartphone and a SmartTV, not counting the Internet and ... cars ;)
3. It's impossible to write a 'simple manual' for such advanced and complex tools like computers ...
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby ticojohn » 2021-01-26 23:09

LE_746F6D617A7A69 wrote: ..... Linux-based OS: WiFi Router, Smartphone and a SmartTV, not counting the Internet and ... cars ;)

And don't forget, the majority of internet servers, the top 500 supercomputers and my favorite ..... SpaceX
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Re: [Article] Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'?

Postby Hallvor » 2021-01-27 11:51

LE_746F6D617A7A69 wrote: Actually, the Debian installer has that "checkbox", which enables non-free repos, and it allows to import missing firmware from f.e. an USB drive ...


OK, let's see. This is from Debian 9, but the installer has not changed on this point:

Image

No, it doesn't have that checkbox that automatically installs the missing firmware by pressing yes. (Nor does it warn the user of potential hazards of doing so.) In fact, you'd have to download the firmware and place it on removable media for that (very cumbersome) method to work. During my eleven years of using Debian, I have not bothered to do that even once, because adding the sources manually post install and installing whatever non-free drivers I need, is less work.

If it is made this way by design to keep certain groups or individuals out, I get it. If it's not by design, I don't.
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