They approve in Debian the distribution of proprietary firmware

Debian non-free firmware

Debian non-free firmware

At the end of August we share here on the blog the note about the start of voting by Debian developers involved in maintaining the packages and infrastructure, who considered the issue of providing proprietary (non-free) firmware as part of the official installation images and live builds.

The vote was won by the fifth item which describes the “Change of the Social Contract for the provision of non-free firmware in the installer with the provision of uniform installation mounts”. the chosen option implies a change in the Debian Social Contract, which defines the fundamental principles of the project and the obligations of the project with the community.

A note will be added to the fifth clause of the social contract, which contains the requirement to comply with free software standards, that official Debian media may include firmware that is not part of the Debian system, if necessary to ensure that the distribution runs on hardware that requires such firmware to run.

  • installation media Debian Officials and live images will include packages from the "non-free firmware" section, which contains non-free repository firmware-related components. If you have hardware that requires external firmware, use of the required non-free firmware will be enabled by default. At the same time, for users who prefer only free software, at the download stage it will be possible to disable the use of non-free firmware.
  • In addition, the installer and live image will provide information on what type of firmware is loaded. The information about the firmware used will also be saved in the installed system so that the user can retrieve the information about the firmware used at a later time.
  • If firmware is required for device operation after installation, the system also suggests adding a non-free firmware repository to the sources.list file by default, which will allow you to receive firmware updates with important bug and vulnerability fixes.

The problem with the supply of firmware has become relevant, as equipment manufacturers increasingly resort to using external firmware loaded by the operating system, rather than supplying firmware in the permanent memory of the devices themselves. This external firmware is required by many modern graphics, sound, and network adapters. At the same time, the question of how the provision of non-free firmware correlates with the requirement to ship only free software in major Debian builds is ambiguous, since firmware runs on hardware devices, not the system, and refers to the hardware.

Until now, the non-free firmware has not been included in the official installation images. Debian and has been shipped in a separate non-free repository. Installation builds with non-free firmware have the status of unofficial and are distributed separately, which leads to confusion and creates difficulties for users, since in many cases full operation of modern equipment can only be achieved after install the non-free firmware.

The Debian project was also tasked with preparing and maintaining unofficial builds with non-free firmware, which required additional expenditure of resources to create, test, and host unofficial builds that duplicate the official ones.

A situation has arisen where unofficial builds are more preferable to the user if he wants to achieve normal support for his computer, and installing recommended official builds often leads to hardware support issues.

Furthermore, the use of unofficial builds interferes with the ideal of providing only open source software and unknowingly leads to the popularization of non-free software, since the user, along with the firmware, also receives a non-free repository. connected with other not free.

Finally If you are interested in knowing more about it, you can check the details In the following link.


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  1.   Joseph said

    I wanted to ask you a question: Is the next version of Debian (12) the one that will include these changes? Thanks.

  2.   NoCoin said

    Proprietary software? Since when is software a person? I imagine that the author of the article meant "private".

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      The term proprietary software has been used for a long time. I guess it will be a literal translation from English as "toast" a dvd.