Debian Lenny seems to be nearing general release. That’s why this General Resolution on the Debian website is so puzzling from the perspective of an end user. Planet Debian was buzzing with posts regarding this resolution, which most developers regard as a situation where the bureaucrats are hijacking the release for ideological reasons.
I understand why it’s undesirable to have unsourced firmware code in any release of a distribution which aims to implement the notion of free software to its fullest. But it’s a problem that has plagued all of the Debian releases as of yet, so why delay Lenny now when it’s ready to be published? I’m not sure what the legal ramifications are when shipping a distribution with binary firmware blobs, but as this hasn’t been a problem in the past it will probably not be a problem for the next release.
The Debian philosophy is great and there should be a constant drive to adhere to these policies, but not at the cost of the product to be shipped or letting down the user of said product. Lenny has been postponed indefinitely in September already for more valid reasons (too many bugs). Delaying it again for reasons most users won’t understand or don’t care about (unfortunately) isn’t helping the project at all.
Why not make the elimination of unsourced firmware code and the implementation of a procedure to handle this code a priority for the next release of Debian?