I know this will open a large can of worms, so please take this message
as mearly a way of opening a dialog on the subject.
Objecive 2 of the Fedora "contract" specifies that it should be built
exclusivly from open source software.
But is firmware software? It is more like a document, image, or other
fixed item. What about Creative Commons "by" and "by-nd" licensed
documentation are those items locked out of Fedora as well?
I think we should re-evaluate the belief that locking out "free as in
beer" firmware ( and all firmware is only "free as in beer" unless they
provide the source ) is the proper action for the community when these
files enable open source operating systems to interact with otherwise
propratary hardware. I think that the first objective of the "contract"
is to provide a general operating system platform equivilant to other
competing systems must be evaluated before locking these files out. To
say that these types of firmware are no longer welcome I think will hurt
us long term as the hardware get smarter and more flexable.
Communications hardware especially that are generally bound by one or
more legal body to constrain it's abilities. Hardware manufactures who
open their hardware to blanket hacking risk loosing the license to sell
the hardware, so don't expect them to open the firmware as that is
legally not an option for them.
Is this lock out based on ideology or reality. Including "free as in
beer" firmware does not compromise the ability to redistribute Fedora
freely and I think it moves us closer to the goal of a genreal-purpose
operating system out of the box. It improves user feedback and reduces
problamatic and frustrating installs for both users and the people that
are drawn in to help new users get past these repetitive and common