Plan for tomorrows (20080522) FESCO meeting

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Thu May 22 18:18:47 UTC 2008

On May 22, 2008, David Woodhouse <dwmw2 at> wrote:

> On Wed, 2008-05-21 at 20:53 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>> Assuming that's acceptable upstream. I sort of doubt it,

> Post them to me; I'll convert them to 'diff -u' for you and send them
> on.

Thanks, I'll probably take up the offer.

> That is best addressed by making sure you don't come across as a kook.

Can't really help that, there's a fundamental cultural clash.  That's
why your offer to be the man in the middle is so invaluable.

> You need to make it clear that you're not just intending to remove stuff
> and run away leaving it broken;

But I am :-) :-)

Seriously, not really; I don't intend to deprive users of the ability
to get their stuff to work, but I also have limited resources to put
into personal projects, so it's hard to do more than the absolutely
minimum necessary to achieve the goal I had in mind.  Even more so
because I foresee a lot of resistance, that ultimately makes me expect
it to be a pointless exercise.  But it's yet another of those win-win
situations, in which if I try it and succeed, excellent; if I don't, I
can at least come back and say "see?, I told you" :-)

>> Could you honestly tell me, with a straight face and a reasonable
>> degree of assurance, that a patch that performs these actions stands
>> any chance whatsoever of being accepted upstream?

> I'll tell you what I'd do to _improve_ its chances. Would that do?

It seems like a reasonable idea and a useful feature (although I don't
quite see that as a major improvement over loading this stuff out of
initrd), but I honestly don't see that upstream will want to sacrifice
the convenience of having the firmware right there as part of their
buildable tarball just because such a feature is in place.  They don't
exactly care about helping us achieve a 100% Free source tarball, you
know :-)

I guess we'll have to try and see.  Maybe we should start with the
non-redistributable piece of firmware I mentioned.

> And after that, you can look at evicting the offending blobs from the
> kernel altogether.

This is the part I don't see happening.  And if it doesn't happen,
then all of this will have been just running around in circles as far
as my goals are concerned.

> Since Fedora uses an initrd anyway, we'd probably choose not to
> build any of the blobs into the kernel, but to ship them in a
> separate package(s). You can then just omit that package from your
> compose.

As long as they're part of the kernel source tarball, the distribution
of any spins allegedly Free still involve the distribution of this
non-Free Software.  So achieving anything less than a blob-free kernel
source tarball is no progress.

Now, do you understand what I'd need to achieve in order to accomplish
the goal I set out to accomplish, and do you still believe there's
even a slight chance of that coming about upstream?

Alexandre Oliva
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{,}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! =>
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{,}

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