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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] The "Free" Kernel In Debian Squeeze

From: Alexandre Oliva
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] The "Free" Kernel In Debian Squeeze
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2011 22:07:00 -0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1 (gnu/linux)

On Jan  2, 2011, Richard Stallman <address@hidden> wrote:

>     My reasonsing was that firmware filenames are static identifiers.  Even
>     if we mangled them, they'd still be identifiers to the same files, and
>     web pages would quickly pop up mapping the identifiers to the file
>     names, so it seemed pointless to try to disguise the sources.

> I agree those things might happen, but that doesn't make it pointless.


>     So I figured run-time mangling, that can vary not only from release to
>     release, but also from build to build, even from session to session, was
>     far more important.

> What would it mean to change the translated name from session to session?

That the kernel would include a session, build or release id as part of
the hashed string, and it would provide userland with that string so
that it would be included in the computation that searches for the

I'm not sure yet how this would work with initrd building that include
the minimal number of drivers and corresponding firmware files.  Varying
the hashing of the MODULE_FIRMWARE strings, that are compiled as
constants into module files, isn't something we can do.  But noting the
need for non-Free firmware is something we might want to keep on
refraining from doing.

> That would mean that the user has to reinstall the nonfree firmware again
> in each session -- right?

No, it would be installed just once, but the hotplug script that looked
for a file whose name matched the requested hash code would take the
varying portion into account.

> You might as well "mangle" every name to `foobar'.

Wel,l we currently mangle them all to /*(DEBLOBBED)*/ ;-)

Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Gandhi
Be Free! --   FSF Latin America board member
Free Software Evangelist      Red Hat Brazil Compiler Engineer

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