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Re: Installation: Load non-free wifi firmware (iwlwifi)

From: Chris Marusich
Subject: Re: Installation: Load non-free wifi firmware (iwlwifi)
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 07:11:17 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.3 (gnu/linux)

Marius Bakke <address@hidden> writes:

> Chris Marusich <address@hidden> writes:
>> Hi Pierre,
>> Pierre Neidhardt <address@hidden> writes:
>>> linux-libre turns off the ability to load non-free firmware.  Why is
>>> it so?
>> I did a little bit of searching on the Internet, and it seems to me like
>> the reason why Linux-libre turns off the ability to load non-free
>> firmware is because the project does not want to induce you to use
>> non-free software.
> This is not true.  After all, you may wish to load a firmware that you
> have developed yourself, but that is not possible either.  The problem
> is a limitation of the kernel interface and/or the deblobbing script:
> From an interview with Alexandre Oliva[0]:
> "Indeed, I became aware that some users have got the idea that blocking
> the loading of blobs is a feature. It's not; it's just a bug that's
> quite difficult to fix. The decision on whether or not to use a piece of
> software, be it Free or not, should belong to the users, and it's not
> our intent to make that difficult."
> [0] 

Thank you for correcting my understanding!  I read the interview you
linked, as well as the original email thread referenced by the LWN
article [1].  My understanding is now that Linux-libre wants both (1) to
avoid inducing users to install non-free firmware (e.g. even logging the
non-free firmware name is something they would consider to be "inducing"
the user to install the non-free firmware), and (2) to allow users to
install whatever firmware they want, regardless of whether it is free or
non-free firmware.  However, due to the way the kernel Linux loads
firmware combined with the way that Linux-libre mangles the non-free
firmware identifiers to accomplish (1), users of Linux-libre currently
need to go through the extra effort of modifying the Linux-libre source
code (which they are free to do) if they want to load non-free firmware
(or firmware they have built themselves but have chosen not to share).

It is good to know that the Linux-libre project intends to allow users
to do whatever they want with the kernel.  I appreciate you taking the
time to clarify this for me!



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