Tuesday, 27 September 2022
Firmware again - updates, how I'm voting and why!
Back in April I wrote about issues with how we handle firmware in Debian, and I also spoke about it at DebConf in July. Since then, we've started the General Resolution process - this led to a lot of discussion on the the debian-vote mailing list and we're now into the second week of the voting phase.
The discussion has caught the interest of a few news sites along the way:
I've also had several people ask me how I'm voting myself, as I started this GR in the first place. I'm happy to oblige! Here's my vote, sorted into preference order:
 Choice 5: Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, one installer  Choice 1: Only one installer, including non-free firmware  Choice 6: Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, keep both installers  Choice 2: Recommend installer containing non-free firmware  Choice 3: Allow presenting non-free installers alongside the free one  Choice 7: None Of The Above  Choice 4: Installer with non-free software is not part of Debian
Why have I voted this way?
Fundamentally, my motivation for starting this vote was to ask the project for clear positive direction on a sensible way forward with non-free firmware support. Thus, I've voted all of the options that do that above NOTA. On those terms, I don't like Choice 4 here - IMHO it leaves us in the same unclear situation as before.
I'd be happy for us to update the Social Contract for clarity, and I know some people would be much more comfortable if we do that explicitly here. Choice 1 was my initial personal preference as we started the GR, but since then I've been convinced that also updating the SC would be a good idea, hence Choice 5.
I'd also rather have a single image / set of images produced, for the two reasons I've outlined before. It's less work for our images team to build and test all the options. But, much more importantly: I believe it's less likely to confuse new users.
I appreciate that not everybody agrees with me here, and this is part of the reason why we're voting!
Other Debian people have also blogged about their voting choices (Gunnar Wolf and Ian Jackson so far), and I thank them for sharing their reasoning too.
For the avoidance of doubt: my goal for this vote was simply to get a clear direction on how to proceed here. Although I proposed Choice 1 (Only one installer, including non-free firmware), I also seconded several of the other ballot options. Of course I will accept the will of the project when the result is announced - I'm not going to do anything silly like throw a tantrum or quit the project over this!
If you're a DD and you haven't voted already, please do so - this is an important choice for the Debian project.
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