General Resolution: non-free firmware

Time Line

Discussion Period: 2022-08-18 2022-09-15
Voting period: Sunday 2022-09-18 00:00:00 UTC Saturday 2022-10-01 23:59:59 UTC
The discussion period has been extended with 7 days by the Debian Project Leader. [mail]

Proposal A Proposer

Steve McIntyre [93sam@debian.org] [text of proposal] [amendment]

Proposal A Seconds

  1. Tobias Frost [tobi@debian.org] [mail]
  2. Luca Boccassi [bluca@debian.org] [mail]
  3. Ansgar [ansger@debian.org] [mail]
  4. Louis-Philippe Véronneau [pollo@debian.org] [mail]
  5. Sebastian Ramacher [sramacher@debian.org] [mail]
  6. Samuel Henrique [samueloph@debian.org] [mail]
  7. Timo Röhling [roehling@debian.org] [mail]
  8. Philip Hands [philh@debian.org] [mail]
  9. Joerg Jaspert [joerg@debian.org] [mail]
  10. Cyril Brulebois [kibi@debian.org] [mail]
  11. Iain Lane [laney@debian.org] [mail]
  12. Holger Levsen [holger@debian.org] [mail]
  13. Philipp Kern [pkern@debian.org] [mail]
  14. Anton Gladky [gladk@debian.org] [mail]
  15. Moritz Mühlenhoff [jmm@debian.org] [mail]
  16. Gunnar Wolf [gwolf@debian.org] [mail]

Proposal A

Choice 1: Only one installer, including non-free firmware

We will include non-free firmware packages from the "non-free-firmware" section of the Debian archive on our official media (installer images and live images). The included firmware binaries will normally be enabled by default where the system determines that they are required, but where possible we will include ways for users to disable this at boot (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 such that users will be able to find it later. Where non-free firmware is found to be necessary, 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 security updates and important fixes to firmware binaries just like any other installed software.

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

Proposal B Proposer

Gunnar Wolf [gwolf@debian.org] [text of proposal] [amendment]

Proposal B Seconds

  1. Tobias Frost [tobi@debian.org] [mail]
  2. Holger Levsen [holger@debian.org] [mail]
  3. Sean Whitton [spwhitton@debian.org] [mail]
  4. Steve McIntyre [93sam@debian.org] [mail]
  5. Mathias Behrle [mbehrle@debian.org] [mail]
  6. Tiago Bortoletto Vaz [tiago@debian.org] [mail]
  7. Laura Arjona Reina [larjona@debian.org] [mail]
  8. Jonathan Carter [jcc@debian.org] [mail]
  9. Philipp Kern [pkern@debian.org] [mail]

Proposal B

Choice 2: Recommend installer containing non-free firmware

We will include non-free firmware packages from the "non-free-firmware" section of the Debian archive on our official media (installer images and live images). The included firmware binaries will normally be enabled by default where the system determines that they are required, but where possible we will include ways for users to disable this at boot (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 such that users will be able to find it later. Where non-free firmware is found to be necessary, 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 security updates and important fixes to firmware binaries just like any other installed software.

While we will publish these images as official Debian media, they will not replace the current media sets that do not include non-free firmware packages, but offered alongside. Images that do include non-free firmware will be presented more prominently, so that newcomers will find them more easily; fully-free images will not be hidden away; they will be linked from the same project pages, but with less visual priority.

Proposal C Proposer

Bart Martens [bartm@debian.org] [text of proposal] [amendment]

Proposal C Seconds

  1. Stefano Zacchiroli [zack@debian.org] [mail]
  2. Laura Arjona Reina [larjona@debian.org] [mail]
  3. Holger Levsen [holger@debian.org] [mail]
  4. Steve McIntyre [93sam@debian.org] [mail]
  5. Philip Rinn [rinni@debian.org] [mail]
  6. Jonas Smedegaard [js@debian.org] [mail]
  7. Paul Wise [pabs@debian.org] [mail]
  8. Simon Josefsson [jas@debian.org] [mail]

Proposal C

Choice 3: Allow presenting non-free installers alongside the free one

The Debian project is permitted to make distribution media (installer images and live images) containing non-free software from the Debian archive available for download alongside with the free media in a way that the user is informed before downloading which media are the free ones.

Proposal D Proposer

Simon Josefsson [jas@debian.org] [text of proposal]

Proposal D Seconds

  1. Jonas Smedegaard [js@debian.org] [mail]
  2. Holger Levsen [holger@debian.org] [mail]
  3. Hubert Chathi [uhoreg@debian.org] [mail]
  4. Guilhem Moulin [guilhem@debian.org] [mail]
  5. Santiago Ruano Rincón [santiago@debian.org] [mail]
  6. Shengjing Zhu [zhsj@debian.org] [mail]

Proposal D

Choice 4: Installer with non-free software is not part of Debian

We continue to stand by the spirit of the Debian Social Contract §1 which says:

   Debian will remain 100% free

   We provide the guidelines that we use to determine if a work is
   "free" in the document entitled "The Debian Free Software
   Guidelines". We promise that the Debian system and all its components
   will be free according to these guidelines. We will support people
   who create or use both free and non-free works on Debian. We will
   never make the system require the use of a non-free component.

Therefore we will not include any non-free software in Debian, nor in the main archive or installer/live/cloud or other official images, and will not enable anything from non-free or contrib by default.

We also continue to stand by the spirit of the Debian Social Contract §5 which says:

   Works that do not meet our free software standards

   We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of works that
   do not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have
   created "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our archive for these
   works. The packages in these areas are not part of the Debian system,
   although they have been configured for use with Debian. We encourage
   CD manufacturers to read the licenses of the packages in these areas
   and determine if they can distribute the packages on their CDs. Thus,
   although non-free works are not a part of Debian, we support their
   use and provide infrastructure for non-free packages (such as our bug
   tracking system and mailing lists).

Thereby reinforcing the interpretation that any installer or image with non-free software on it is not part of the Debian system, but that we support their use and welcome others to distribute such work.

Proposal E Proposer

Russ Allbery [rra@debian.org] [text of proposal]

Proposal E Seconds

  1. Richard Laager [rlaager@debian.org] [mail]
  2. Ansgar [ansgar@debian.org] [mail]
  3. Simon Richter [sjr@debian.org] [mail]
  4. Kunal Mehta [legoktm@debian.org] [mail]
  5. Tobias Frost [tobi@debian.org] [mail]
  6. Steve McIntyre [93sam@debian.org] [mail]
  7. Holger Levsen [holger@debian.org] [mail]

Proposal E

Choice 5: Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, one installer

This ballot option supersedes the Debian Social Contract (a foundation document) under point 4.1.5 of the constitution and thus requires a 3:1 majority.

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

    The Debian official media may include firmware that is otherwise not
    part of the Debian system to enable use of Debian with hardware that
    requires such firmware.

The Debian Project also makes the following statement on an issue of the day:

We will include non-free firmware packages from the "non-free-firmware" section of the Debian archive on our official media (installer images and live images). The included firmware binaries will normally be enabled by default where the system determines that they are required, but where possible we will include ways for users to disable this at boot (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 such that users will be able to find it later. Where non-free firmware is found to be necessary, 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 security updates and important fixes to firmware binaries just like any other installed software.

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

Proposal F Proposer

Holger Levsen [holger@debian.org] [text of proposal]

Proposal F Seconds

  1. Steve McIntyre [93sam@debian.org] [mail]
  2. Timo Röhling [roehling@debian.org] [mail]
  3. Tiago Bortoletto Vaz [tiago@debian.org] [mail]
  4. Étienne Mollier [emollier@debian.org] [mail]
  5. Judit Foglszinger [urbec@debian.org] [mail]
  6. David Prévot [taffit@debian.org] [mail]
  7. Tobias Frost [tobi@debian.org] [mail]
  8. Gunnar Wolf [gwolf@debian.org] [mail]
  9. Didier Raboud [odyx@debian.org] [mail]

Proposal F

Choice 6: Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, keep both installers

This ballot option supersedes the Debian Social Contract (a foundation document) under point 4.1.5 of the constitution and thus requires a 3:1 majority.

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

    The Debian official media may include firmware that is otherwise not
    part of the Debian system to enable use of Debian with hardware that
    requires such firmware.

The Debian Project also makes the following statement on an issue of the day:

We will include non-free firmware packages from the "non-free-firmware" section of the Debian archive on our official media (installer images and live images). The included firmware binaries will normally be enabled by default where the system determines that they are required, but where possible we will include ways for users to disable this at boot (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 such that users will be able to find it later. Where non-free firmware is found to be necessary, 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 security updates and important fixes to firmware binaries just like any other installed software.

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

Data and Statistics

For this GR, like always, statistics will be gathered about ballots received and acknowledgements sent periodically during the voting period.

Proposal 5 and 6 need a 3:1 super majority


Debian Project Secretary