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Debian GNU is Not Unix Open Source Linux

Debian 6.0 To Feature a Completely Free Kernel 283

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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  • Great news! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sticks_us ( 150624 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:14PM (#34579876) Homepage

    I can think of at least two distros (gNewSense: http://www.gnewsense.org/ [gnewsense.org] and Trisquel: http://trisquel.info/ [trisquel.info]) that are the result of people working diligently to comb through the entire Ubuntu distro (not just the kernel) and checking modules/programs/packages for license compatibility. Binary blobs and other non-free kernel modules have always been a concern.


  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:34PM (#34580212) Homepage

    Except one of those 14 packages is a meta-package with about 75 [debian.org] binary firmwares, including microcode for all Radeon cards for example.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:37PM (#34580236) Homepage

    My take on this: Debian is much more tied to the FSF philosophy than most of the other distros. That's their way of doing things. That means that the baseline distribution needs to be Free Software.

    I see two major points of this kind of effort:
    1. We get to see how functional entirely Free systems really are. Maybe you don't need the latest and greatest nVidia drivers to still have a machine that does what you need it to do.
    2. In an absolutely Free Software world, the binary blobs and the like were stopgap measures at best. This could potentially motivate people to make Free replacements.

    Now, both of these assume that you have the goal of running entirely Free Software. But if you have that goal, then this is completely logical and worthwhile.

  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:43PM (#34580336) Homepage

    Not really.

    All of it is simply in the linux-firmware-nonfree package now.

    Typing this on a Lenny Mac mini G4 with a backported kernel package and with the radeon happily loading its non-free firmware out of the similarly backported non-free firmware package. Ditto for my G4 Powerbook (TiBook), ditto for my spare laptop which is a HP NC4000 in need for a non-free wireless card driver, firmware (non-free) for the onboard radeon and so on.

    The only missing bit last time I checked was however something which is quite important - the nvidia packages. By the way the NV drviver is absolutely not an answer here and not for performance reasons. NV does not have working power management. On half of the hardware currently shipping out there it is a sure way to fry your card. It may not be fried immediately. It may take months or even a year or two for it to die, but die it will and it will die prematurely. That has been actually been the case for 5+ years now.

    So unless Debian wants to take the responsibility for something that can actually damage people PCs they will have to swallow the bitter pill and find a way to ship nvidia drivers (and have them properly configured powerwise which by the way no Linux distro does at present). It is not that difficult: http://foswiki.sigsegv.cx/bin/view/Net/LinuxNvidia [sigsegv.cx]

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann