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Debian GNU is Not Unix Open Source Linux

Debian 6.0 To Feature a Completely Free Kernel 283

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-dirty dept.
dkd903 writes "The Debian Project has announced that the upcoming release — Debian 6.0 'Squeeze' — will have a completely free Linux kernel. This means that the Linux kernel which ships with Debian 6.0 will not have any non-free firmware. The Debian Project has been working on removing the non-free parts since the last two releases. With Squeeze, they are finally realizing that goal."
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Debian 6.0 To Feature a Completely Free Kernel

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  • by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:10PM (#34579790) Homepage

    More threads on the Internet of people going, 'I can't find ucide-34235.fw' and 'why doesn't my wireless card work?!'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:17PM (#34579916)

    No, there are principles involved. This is important, and fuck you if you don't understand that. Code doesn't operate in a vacuum absent social effects, and it's important geeks realise that, and don't fall for the lie that technical correctness or just working at all is all that matters.

  • by mangu (126918) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:20PM (#34579972)

    So they are switching to BSD, I take it?

    No, they are shipping a Linux system that doesn't run under any recent hardware.

    Not that bad, assuming someone else will write a script that configures the system and loads all proprietary firmware.

    I guess we need both kinds of people, the idealists that keep the system clean and the pragmatists that make the system work. Without them we would either be at the mercy of Microsoft or struggling to boot The Hurd.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:38PM (#34580260)

    Your Wrong. REAL LIFE Technology has a use to DO SOMETHING!. Technical correctness is a tool to save us from problems. However it is not the end all be all. In order to get things to work you may need to break the Purity rules to get it to work.

    A kernel that is all Free just means there is less hardware supported. It doesn't mean things run better. It is really just a loose loose situation.

  • by Steeltoe (98226) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:43PM (#34580338) Homepage

    Lol. Luckily I'm not drinking coffee right now.

    Hurd is and has always been a lost case. No matter how many developers, if it's dead in the water, they can't breathe life in it.

    RMS is great at many things, but attracting and sponsoring development on the order of scale as the Linux kernel and other high-profile projects, he's not. And that's a good thing, really. More legs to stand on and all that.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:46PM (#34580376)

    Only this sort of insistence on purity is what gives us any FREE drivers at all. You might as well go use a closed OS.

    Sure not everyone needs to go this way, but if none do no progress will ever be made.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:17PM (#34580806)

    "doesn't run under any recent hardware"

    What planet are you on? Apart from the wireless chip on one of my laptops, none of my three systems (all fairly vanilla) require any proprietary firmware.

    I get your point, but you are exaggerating greatly.

  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AcidPenguin9873 (911493) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:19PM (#34580822)

    Non-free, closed-source binary blobs running on the CPU in the kernel are bad, I fully agree. They can corrupt system memory in terrible, subtle ways, and without the source code it's nearly impossible to diagnose problems. Non-free, closed-source binary blobs running on an external device with completely separate microcontroller, RAM, etc? What's wrong with that?

    The whole point of having firmware in an external device is to separate/wall-off the functionality of that device from the general-purpose CPU and memory. In fact I can't think of a single device in a modern computer system that doesn't have some sort of firmware. Not all devices have loadable firmware like the ones Debian is targeting, but who gives a crap if it's loadable or not? In fact I would rather that every device have loadable (or at least flashable) firmware so that I can upgrade it or get bugfixes from the vendor.

    The usual argument against these firmwares goes something like, "IO devices have access to full system memory, and are thus unsafe unless we see their firmware." Well, any IO device has access to system memory whether or not it has firmware. A buggy piece of firmware-free hardware can just as easily scribble on anything in memory or generate a flood of interrupts or whatever as something with firmware. This requirement is tantamount to requiring all the RTL for every device attached to the computer, which is certainly not going to happen.

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:21PM (#34580854) Journal

    No way. GNU projects do not allow the chaotic early linux kernel development attitude.

    Better chaotic development than no development.

  • by Late Adopter (1492849) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:22PM (#34580878)
    That's not necessarily true. A lot of very common modern hardware runs on open drivers. The only places where there's any real trouble is graphics and wifi. As graphics go, Intel is fully open (aside from the GMA 500) and you'd be surprised how good their recent chips have gotten. The GMA 945 stuff, frankly, gave them a bad rep they don't really deserve anymore. But still, if you want top of the line, you'll probably want to go with an AMD or nVidia card, and a closed driver.

    As wifi goes, there are plenty of choics out there you can get that are supported by a fully open driver. I have a DLink wireless-n card in my desktop that's supported wonderfully by the fully open ath9k driver. You don't need a firmware blob or anything.

    So, the situation is wrt hardware is much better than it has been, and if you're the sort of person who cares about purity you can achieve it with a small amount of effort.
  • Re:Honestly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selven (1556643) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:27PM (#34580928)

    Thankfully, us ideologues do exist and are willing to fight against computer proprietarization while we still can and aren't going to wait until everyone is running an iPad-like walled garden with the US government holding a backdoor key. These things do have long-term consequences.

  • by eyrieowl (881195) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @06:08PM (#34581378)

    Depends on what you need to do. Some people actually need to do jobs which require they use modern graphics cards' capabilities. It's quite a stretch to argue those people don't need vendor supplied drivers. Sure, an individual (who is fanatically purist) could pick a different line of work, but SOMEONE is going to be doing that work (because society wants the work done), and that SOMEONE needs those drivers (because there simply isn't an alternative).

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @07:24PM (#34582270)

    A kernel with less licensing and freedom issues.

    Stop anthropomorphizing the kernel or any software for that matter. They hate that.

    Software is a thing. It has no rights or freedoms.

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