Debian "Squeeze" makes key progress toward being a fully free distribution
With last Saturday's "Squeeze" release, Debian took an important step towards being a fully free distribution and ensuring freedom for its users.
Most GNU/Linux distributions directly or virtually include proprietary software. To promote development and use of totally free distros, the FSF publishes precise criteria for GNU/Linux distributions to fully respect users' freedom.
Several distributions have stepped up to meet the criteria. These distributions, including Trisquel and gNewSense, have committed to distributing and recommending only free software, and have a policy of treating anything inconsistent with this as a critical bug.
With Squeeze, Debian has moved one key category of proprietary software which is included in most other common GNU/Linux distributions — so-called firmware "blobs" in the kernel Linux — out of its default package repository and into the nonfree section.
Debian has a policy of only distributing free software in its default repository, but has made an exception for the nonfree software distributed with its primary kernel — until now.
We cheer for the Debian activists who campaigned for this change and achieved it. We hope other distributions will follow this lead, and that they and Debian will take on the remaining challenges to become fully free system distributions.
For more information about this announcement, contact John Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.