Debian chooses a reasonable and common sense solution to deal with non-free firmware

Debian chooses a reasonable and common sense solution to deal with non-free firmware
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Debian developers have been figuring out an updated stance to take on non-free firmware considering the increasing number of devices that now have open source Linux drivers but require closed source firmware for any level of functionality. The voting on the non-free firmware issue is over and the votes have been counted…

the debian votes option 5 as the winner: “Change SC for non-free firmware in the installer, an installer

for him debian-wikithat option is equivalent to:

The Debian Social Contract is replaced with a new version that is identical to the current version in all respects except that the following sentence is added to the end of point 5:

“Official Debian media may include firmware that would not otherwise be part of the Debian system to enable the use of Debian with hardware that requires such firmware.”

The Debian Project also makes the following statement on a topic of the day:

We will include non-free firmware packages from the “non-free firmware” section of the Debian archive in our official media (install images and live images). Included firmware binaries will normally be enabled by default when the system determines they are needed, but where possible we will include ways for users to disable this at boot time (boot menu option, kernel command line, etc. ).

When the installer/live system is running, we will provide information to the user about what firmware has been loaded (both free and non-free), and we will also store that information on the target system so that users can find it. later. When it is determined that non-free firmware is required, the target system will also be configured to use the non-free firmware component by default in the apt sources.list file. Our users should receive important security updates and fixes to firmware binaries like any other installed software.

We will release these images as official Debian media, replacing the current media sets that do not include non-free firmware packages.

Basically the Debian installer media will now be able to include non-free firmware and automatically load/use it where needed while informing the user etc. Considering the state of the hardware ecosystem these days, it’s reasonable and common sense as at least users will be able to easily use their graphics cards, network adapters, and more. As well as a number of modern CPU security mitigations that also require the updated closed source microcode. So overall I am personally happy with this decision as it will allow for a more pleasant experience for Debian on modern systems and one similar to that found with other Linux distributions.

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