General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

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General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware.

Poll ended at 2022-10-01 16:01

Only one installer, including non-free firmware
5
14%
Recommend installer containing non-free firmware
1
3%
Allow presenting non-free installers alongside the free one
22
63%
Installer with non-free software is not part of Debian
3
9%
Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, one installer
4
11%
Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, keep both installers
0
No votes
None Of The Above
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 35

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Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#21 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

ticojohn wrote: 2022-09-22 15:07 Is there a way that the installer could look at the target hardware and inform the user as to whether they need some particular non-free firmware, and give them the option to select what is needed?
The isenkram package[1] can do that and there has been some discussion on the lists about that possibility.

And just to add to the debate I noticed this from my nemesis Steve McIntyre:
Fat Bastard wrote:A reason for defaulting to installing non-free firmware *by default*
is accessibility. A blind user running the installer in text-to-speech
mode may need audio firmware loaded to be able to drive the installer
at all. It's going to be very difficult for them to change this. Other
people should be able to drive the system (boot menus, etc.) to *not*
install the non-free firmware packages if desired.
https://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/20 ... 00001.html

A very good point indeed. A11y is critical, especially for an operating system that styles itself as "universal".

[1] And thank goodness they gave it such a clear and memorable name, eh? My dyslexia cannot grasp that word at all. I'll have to copy&paste it every single time...
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#22 Post by Hallvor »

Head_on_a_Stick wrote: 2022-09-22 15:32 And thank goodness they gave it such a clear and memorable name, eh? My dyslexia cannot grasp that word at all. I'll have to copy&paste it every single time...
I take it you're not often in Denmark, where they have isenkram stores. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-mOy8VUEBk
How to install firmware: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=151785
Installing and configuring Debian Bullseye: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=150334

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#23 Post by wizard10000 »

Debian just released an alpha version of Bookworm's installer. Considering they're in the middle of voting on stuff that may change the installer I thought the timing on this was interesting :)
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#24 Post by FreewheelinFrank »

Hallvor wrote: 2022-09-22 15:39
Head_on_a_Stick wrote: 2022-09-22 15:32 And thank goodness they gave it such a clear and memorable name, eh? My dyslexia cannot grasp that word at all. I'll have to copy&paste it every single time...
I take it you're not often in Denmark, where they have isenkram stores. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-mOy8VUEBk
As I don't know a word of either language, I didn't have a clue what was going on in that scetch, but the next video on the page was the classic two Ronnie's scetch. Was that the inspiration?


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sO6EE1xTXmw

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#25 Post by Hallvor »

FreewheelinFrank wrote: 2022-09-22 17:04 As I don't know a word of either language, I didn't have a clue what was going on in that scetch, but the next video on the page was the classic two Ronnie's scetch. Was that the inspiration?
It doesn't sound like English, but they actually speak English (and a little gibberish) with a thick Danish accent. Subtitles are Norwegian, though.

Never heard of Two Ronnies before, but it sure looks like it was inspired by it.
How to install firmware: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=151785
Installing and configuring Debian Bullseye: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=150334

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#26 Post by ticojohn »

Head_on_a_Stick wrote: 2022-09-22 15:32
ticojohn wrote: 2022-09-22 15:07 Is there a way that the installer could look at the target hardware and inform the user as to whether they need some particular non-free firmware, and give them the option to select what is needed?
The isenkram package[1] can do that and there has been some discussion on the lists about that possibility.
Cool. It's nice to learn something new every day.
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#27 Post by cynwulf »

Head_on_a_Stick wrote: 2022-09-22 15:32
Steve McIntyre wrote:A reason for defaulting to installing non-free firmware *by default*
is accessibility. A blind user running the installer in text-to-speech
mode may need audio firmware loaded to be able to drive the installer
at all. It's going to be very difficult for them to change this. Other
people should be able to drive the system (boot menus, etc.) to *not*
install the non-free firmware packages if desired.
https://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/20 ... 00001.html
I noted that bit of rationale in his proposal, and it only comes across as leveraging a disability in order to lend weight to his proposal. In my view, there was no need for it - as his main argument isn't weak enough to require any such bolstering.

This is the main (I would say only) argument needed:
Steve McIntyre wrote:However, it's no longer a sensible path when trying
to support lots of common current hardware. Increasingly, modern
computers don't function fully without these firmware blobs.
Back in the 90's when a handful of devices needed loadable firmware and in the 00's when it was mostly only about wifi, the old approach made some sense at least. It no longer does. In fact it has made no sense at all for the last 10 years plus.

The Linux graphics stack for example, is mostly developed by Intel and AMD engineers and proprietary firmware is a part of that - if your system doesn't have Intel or AMD graphics, then it probably has nvidia - which usually means a fully proprietary driver. Most x86 systems have either Intel or AMD graphics as part of the CPU. These also require proprietary firmware in order to function (whether loadable or already on the chip) and proprietary processor microcode, so anyone with such hardware already has a bigger problem than the firmware provided with the Linux kernel.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#28 Post by LE_746F6D617A7A69 »

So, Debian is going to be as "attractive" as Ubuntu? For sure, RedHat will be happy.
By separating "free" from "non-free" Debian was giving a choice to the end users, but foremost it was an expression of the fundamental assumption that all the Debian software should be a Free Software.

I'm perceiving this GR as similar to systemd GR -> RedHat slowly, but successfully takes over the Debian project.

Debian is one of very few distros that are based on free software only - non-free software is available, but this is a choice made by the end user. This GR (I think it's already lost) moves the Debian project to a situation where the closed-source is generally acceptable. We are starting from firmware, but this is crossing boundaries -> in the effect Debian will distribute closed source crap in its main repository - in a few years.

Maybe it's really a good time to move to Devuan ...
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#29 Post by jmgibson1981 »

Debian is one of very few distros that are based on free software only - non-free software is available, but this is a choice made by the end user.
Based on the look of the survey / poll above I'd say they are giving users that choice. Not forcing it on them. How does showing them the non free stuff equate to forcing it? It doesn't and in no way can made to be forced.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#30 Post by sothis6881 »

It's 2022 and I can't use my touchpad to install Debian graphically or connect to wifi to install it using the official installer. This seems really impractical to me.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#31 Post by sunrat »

jmgibson1981 wrote: 2022-09-23 22:54
Debian is one of very few distros that are based on free software only - non-free software is available, but this is a choice made by the end user.
Based on the look of the survey / poll above I'd say they are giving users that choice. Not forcing it on them. How does showing them the non free stuff equate to forcing it? It doesn't and in no way can made to be forced.
Exactly. The most popular choice in this poll is about choice. The DFSG free version would still be available and the non-free version just as available. It's not about taking away freedom, it is actually adding freedom. I would also enjoy the freedom of not answering so many firmware questions in the forum.

Personally I, and presumably many experienced users, install with the free netinstall and install several non-free packages later. It obviates installing dozens of firmware packages which, while not damaging at all, would be just sitting around doing nothing but taking space even if that space is insignificant.
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#32 Post by sunrat »

sothis6881 wrote: 2022-09-23 23:18 It's 2022 and I can't use my touchpad to install Debian graphically or connect to wifi to install it using the official installer. This seems really impractical to me.
Please open a separate support topic if you want help. Your post doesn't seem relevant to this discussion.
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#33 Post by CwF »

LE_746F6D617A7A69 wrote: 2022-09-23 20:36 We are starting from firmware, but this is crossing boundaries -> in the effect Debian will distribute closed source crap in its main repository - in a few years.
...if flatpaks and snaps are embraced then this is a mute point.
Nobody is using open hardware, so really there is no point. I'm more than familiar with the supply chain corruption that compromised high end equipment. Consumer equipment doesn't have a prayer. IMHO, the war is already lost.

Debian can indulge any populist feature it needs to survive. As long as reversion is possible by knowledgeable users, then its survival is preferred.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#34 Post by Fossy »

Debian had ( still ? ) the bad reputation of not being polished for desktop use .
A totally ripped off the pot statement , at least according to the odd duck I seem to be (?) , gratefully preserved in perpetuity by canonical lobbyists who spread this widely on forums such as the Mint forum … the “ Ubuntu code “ … what a joke !
Does this keep me awake? by God, no … I settle for the inside jitters I have reading their laughable arguments .
But , please don't lump all " beginners " together , there may be more ducks in the bite than you might think , who like me rely heavily on an ISO with Non-Free Firmware .
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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#35 Post by jmgibson1981 »

I also was thinking this morning that Debian refers to itself as "The Universal Operating System". That's all fine and good but if it can't run on a fair bit of hardware due to the non free stance (which I do support) then it's not so universal is it? I think the word is a paradox.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#36 Post by sothis6881 »

sunrat wrote: 2022-09-23 23:21 Please open a separate support topic if you want help. Your post doesn't seem relevant to this discussion.
jmgibson1981 wrote: 2022-09-24 17:10 I also was thinking this morning that Debian refers to itself as "The Universal Operating System". That's all fine and good but if it can't run on a fair bit of hardware due to the non free stance (which I do support) then it's not so universal is it?
Much more elegantly said, but this was the point I was trying to make.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#37 Post by jmgibson1981 »

sunrat wrote: 2022-09-23 23:21
sothis6881 wrote: 2022-09-23 23:18 It's 2022 and I can't use my touchpad to install Debian graphically or connect to wifi to install it using the official installer. This seems really impractical to me.
Please open a separate support topic if you want help. Your post doesn't seem relevant to this discussion.
I think their point is they can't even install it due to requiring non free parts. Much less use it as a daily driver.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#38 Post by ralph.ronnquist »

Is "Debian" just its installer? I think of "Debian" as a repository of software that is divided up into as separate "packages" as possible, where Debian Developers spend their effort at maintaining the interoperability and dependencies between these packages.

An, or the, installer is then merely a slice of that repository to make a showcase of a particular collective of packages that together provides a certain end-user capability and "experience" for their computer. I would not label that as being "Debian"; it's just an installation of software using the Debian repository.

Why this attempt of reducing "Debian" to an installer? Is someone trying to sell something?

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#39 Post by CwF »

ralph.ronnquist wrote: 2022-09-26 02:51 I think of "Debian" as a repository
Exactly.
I think the concept of an installer is outmoded. If you can boot an installer, you can boot a light live instance and run an imager. Devices get flashed, why is a pc different. Manufacturers don't 'install' to every single one. An 'Installer' should be the method of last resort.

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Re: General Resolution: Non-Free Firmware. Call for votes :-)

#40 Post by scythefwd »

Honestly the installer is just a way to get the system.. why not just present a radial button that allows for non-free firmware to be used or not and if non-free is selected download the missing firmware that is needed? I guess the biggest gotcha there would be the nic if it requires non-free.. so in order for that option to even be feasible it'd have to have some of the most common firmware available and activated only when that radial button was selected?

I think most of debian's user base uses at least one or two non-free firmwares.. but I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there that wan't debian to remain free... The current approach works for me, but I'd like to be free to make the option. Folks are arguing that this is a gateway to putting non-free in the repos, but we already have.. it's not provided by default, but realistically it's already there. We have a whole non-free repo.. and it's not just firmware.

I do think @LE_746F6D617A7A69 and @ticojohn make valid points.. and a warning and good description next to the radial button could address those concerns.

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