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    Sunday, 02 October 2022

    Firmware vote result - the people have spoken!

    It's time for another update on Debian's firmware GR. I wrote about the problem back in April and about the vote itself a few days back.

    Voting closed last night and we have a result! This is unofficial so far - the official result will follow shortly when the Project Secretary sends a signed mail to confirm it. But that's normally just a formality at this point.

    A Result!

    The headline result is: Choice 5 / Proposal E won: Change SC for non-free firmware in installer, one installer. I'm happy with this - it's the option that I voted highest, after all. More importantly, however, it's a clear choice of direction, as I was hoping for. Of the 366 Debian Developers who voted, 289 of them voted this option above NOTA and 63 below, so it also meets the 3:1 super-majority requirement for amending a Debian Foundation Document (Constitution section 4.1.3).

    So, what happens next?

    We have quite a few things to do now, ideally before the freeze for Debian 12 (bookworm), due January 2023. This list of work items is almost definitely not complete, and Cyril and I are aiming to get together this week and do more detailed planning for the d-i pieces. Off the top of my head I can think of the following:

    • Update the SC with the new text, update the website.
    • Check/add support for the non-free-firmware section in various places:
      • d-i build
      • debian-cd
      • debmirror (?)
      • ftpsync (?)
      • Any others?
    • Uploads of firmware packages targeting non-free-firmware.
    • Extra d-i code to inform users about what firmware blobs have been loaded and the matching non-free-firmware packages. Plus information about the hardware involved. Maybe a new d-i module / udeb for this? Exact details here still TBD. Probably the biggest individual piece of work here.
    • Tweaks to add the non-free-firmware section in the apt-setup module if desired/needed.
    • An extra boot option (a debconf variable) to disable loading extra firmware automatically, then exposed as an extra option through the isolinux and GRUB menus. d-i "expert mode" can also be used to tweak this behaviour later, except (obviously) for things like audio firmware that must be loaded early if they're going to be useful at all.
    • Update the image build scripts to include the n-f-f packages, only build one type of image. I'll do my best to keep config and support around too for images without n-f-f included, to make it easier to still build those for people who still want them.
    • Matching updates to docs, website, wiki etc.
    • ...

    If you think I've missed anything here, please let me and Cyril know - the best place would be the mailing list ( If you'd like to help implement any of these changes, that would be lovely too!

    15:15 :: # :: /debian/issues :: 0 comments


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