Votes Are in: All Clear for Debian Lenny

Jan 07, 2009

Debian developers have determined the outcome: proprietary components are acceptable, paving the way for Lenny, the next free distro of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.

Votes from project members have finally put to rest the Lenny Release General Resolution and thereby confirmed specifics of the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG). The debate had raged over whether to accept proprietary firmware in Debian. The furor over the various options proposed by project secretary Manoj Srivestava had culminated last month in his resignation. Bdale Garbee, in his role as acting secretary, was the bringer of good news: the voting developers decided on Option 5, "Assume blobs [microcode driving hardware components] comply with GPL unless proven otherwise." Garbee's announcement goes into specifics about what this means.

Even so, many developers have requested further clarity. As Garbee writes, "[Debian project leader] Steve [McIntyre] and I have discussed it, and we think it's pretty clear. This result means that the Debian Lenny release can proceed as the release team has intended, with the kernel packages currently in the archive."

The complete General Resolution results are summarized here.

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