[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Free firmware - A redefinition of the term and a n

From: Julie Marchant
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Free firmware - A redefinition of the term and a new metric for it's measurement.
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2017 11:21:44 -0500

On 02/03/2017 09:37 AM, David Craven wrote:
> 3. There is documentation available that enables the developement of
> free firmware.

This typically doesn't exist. That's why proprietary firmware blobs are
used. If people knew how to develop libre firmware for a device, someone
would do it. I'm sure even Linus Torvalds prefers libre firmware that
can actually be maintained over proprietary firmware blobs that cannot.

Besides, you're missing a crucial point: if a proprietary firmware blob
external to the device needs to be loaded by the kernel, the only way to
support that device is to distribute that proprietary firmware blob. So

1. The OS cannot be considered libre, because it includes proprietary
software by default (e.g. Ubuntu); or
2. The OS cannot support the device until the user directly intervenes
by installing the proprietary firmware (e.g. Debian).

Even if you're OK with option 2, surely you must realize how much of an
inconvenience this is? So if we were to say that devices requiring this
proprietary firmware are better than devices that come with it embedded
inside, we would be implicitly saying that systems with proprietary
firmware blobs included by default are better than systems without, *or*
we would be implicitly saying that only those who are technically
capable and willing to go out of their way to install proprietary
firmware need to be able to operate their devices.

So yeah, embedded proprietary firmware is not ideal. What we should have
is libre firmware. But actively pushing for kernel-loaded proprietary
blobs is not going to improve the situation in any way, and it would
compromise the integrity of the FSF's recommendations.

Julie Marchant

Protect your emails with GnuPG:

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: OpenPGP digital signature

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]