News Debian Votes To Include Proprietary Drivers, Amends Social Contract


May 17, 2022
As complexity goes up, compatibility goes down. That said however, I don't see a problem with including propriety drivers. In general, hardware vendors supply drivers for free anyway. If you've already paid for the hardware, why shouldn't you use the driver that comes with it? I see the issue here not as the use of a proprietary driver, but that the driver has to exist at all. Why isn't the hardware built to be compatible with existing drivers in the first place? That is the problem.


Dec 5, 2010
That's a good thing. The issues with drivers were a nightmare in Linux. The performance was worse than Win10, less options to choose from, no documentation, etc. Whenever I installed a Linux distro I wanted the OS to work. I didn't want to spend hours of searching the internet, asking at forums, to make the WiFi or ethernet work.
The problem is not the proprietary drivers, the problem is no driver at all.
Oct 5, 2022
This article and its title are misleading. The change is that nonfree firmware, which isn't part of the Debian system, is now being included in the installation media to enable certain drivers to work - the drivers themselves aren't effected. All drivers (like any other software) included in Debian is free/open, same as always.
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Debian's "no non-FOSS software" stance has caused it way more pain then needed and why I stayed firmly within the CentOS/ RHEL space for my home linux needs. Alowing firmware / non-FOSS drivers is over a decade too late but at least it happened. Not all devices store firmware on the device PROM chips and instead rely on the drivers to load the firmware into system memory, that is where the huge disconnect is at.