Few months ago, someone asked how he could do a Debian netinstall over wifi with only first CD [fr] and there I learnt that Ubuntu CD could as it contains the proprietary firmware. I did not know that Ubuntu CD contained non free stuff so I asked several users and I was told that it also installs proprietary nVidia drivers. I was quite surprised as I know some "integrists" who give Ubuntu to beginners, so I think they are not aware of this.
Today a co-worker did not believe me regarding this point so I had a look into the 5.10 and 6.06 CD contents. I had the good surprise to see that some proprietary stuff had disappeared :
5.10 : pool/restricted/d/drdsl/drdsl_1.2.0-0ubuntu1_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-meta/avm-fritz-firmware_184.108.40.206_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-meta/linux_220.127.116.11_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-meta/linux-386_18.104.22.168_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-meta/linux-restricted-modules-386_22.214.171.124_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.12/avm-fritz-firmware-2.6.12-9_3.11-0ubuntu38_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.12/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.12-9-386_126.96.36.199-11_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.12/linux-restricted-modules-common_188.8.131.52-11_all.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.12/nic-restricted-firmware-2.6.12-9-386-di_184.108.40.206-11_i386.udeb pool/restricted/l/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.12/nic-restricted-modules-2.6.12-9-386-di_220.127.116.11-11_i386.udeb pool/restricted/l/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.12/nvidia-glx_1.0.7667-0ubuntu25_i386.deb pool/restricted/n/nvidia-kernel-common/nvidia-kernel-common_1.0.7667+1_all.deb
6.06 : pool/restricted/d/drdsl/drdsl_1.2.0-0ubuntu1_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-meta/avm-fritz-firmware_18.104.22.168_i386.deb pool/restricted/l/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15/avm-fritz-firmware-2.6.15-23_3.11+22.214.171.124-1_i386.deb
So I posted the good news on LinuxFR [fr] and there someone posted a comment [fr] regarding ipw2x00 frimware that I could not find on the CD. If I could not find it, it is for a very simple reason, the proprietary firmware are not in pool/restricted/, they are included in linux-image-2.6.15-23-686_2.6.15-23.39_i386.deb, the main kernel package. So, every people installing Ubuntu gets some proprietary software into his computer !
What is shocking me is not that Ubuntu is a non-free distribution, forcing all of its users to install non-free software. What is shocking me is that almost nobody knows it and a lot of people install or offer Ubuntu thinking it is free software ! I wonder how did Ubuntu people manage to keep that so confidential, I don't even find this information in the numerous Ubuntu vs Debian trolls...
Update : I have read more on Ubuntu website and found a page stating Ubuntu is an entirely open source operating system built around the Linux kernel which is false as drdsl is binary only app, and some other page where things are written more carrefully. The page about licencing tell All of the application software installed by default is Free Software. which is true if they consider firmware as data and not as software (even if I think it is). Regarding the data (they list firmware in it), they say The Ubuntu community will make decisions on the inclusion of these works on a case-by-case basis, ensuring that these works do not restrict our ability to make Ubuntu available free of charge, and that Ubuntu remains redistributable by you so nothing about freedom...