Debian debate to decide what to do with non-free firmware

Debian non-free firmware

Some things could change a lot in the future Debian. Currently, the famous ancestor operating system of others such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint does not load non-free firmware by default, although this means that some support is lost. In addition, not using this type of firmware can also cause the computer to miss security patches or correct usability problems. They have been discussing this for months, and have already proposed various solutions.

The project has been voting on what to do in the future. As we read in this link, have already proposed three options, different but similar to each other. One of them would be to include the packages of non-free firmware directly on the installation media, which might be best for those currently using hardware that requires them to find a solution on their own.

Options that debian shuffles

  • Option A: Include the non-free firmware packages on the official installation media. Firmware binaries would be enabled by default when needed to support certain hardware, but ways are being investigated to allow users to disable support at boot if desired. In this option, the installer (or live session) would inform the user whether the firmware being loaded is free or non-free. This would replace the current Debian installer, which does not include non-free firmware.
  • Option B: include the non-free firmware on the official media in a similar way to option A. The difference is that in this case the Debian installation media would not be replaced. They would be separate and complementary images to the installer that does not include non-free firmware.
  • Option C: Make the installation media containing the packages from the non-free firmware section of the Debian archive and make it available to those who need it along with the free installation media in a way that the user is informed beforehand to download the file there is a free option.

At the moment, what you have to do in the Debian Project is vote what to do with this installation media, but they have not given any date on when they would make the change. What they decide will likely see Debian 12, scheduled for sometime in 2024. The most up-to-date version is Debian 11.4 which was launched at the beginning of July.


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