The Debian project has been working in removing non-free firmware from the Linux kernel shipped with Debian for the past two release cycles. At the time of the releases of Debian 4.0 “Etch”  and 5.0 “Lenny” , however, it was not yet possible to ship Linux kernels stripped of all non-free firmware bits. Back then we had to acknowledge that freedom issues concerning Linux firmware were not completely sorted out .
We have nonetheless kept on working on splitting away non-free bits from
the Linux kernel, thanks to the work of the Debian Kernel team  and
various Linux upstream developers. We are proud to announce that, to the
best of our knowledge, all issues are solved and that we will be able to
deliver a Linux kernel which is completely Free, according to the Debian
Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) , with Debian Squeeze. We hereby
reaffirm Free Software as one of our priorities, as documented in the
Debian Social Contract .
In accordance with the Debian Social Contract, we acknowledge that some
users require the use of works that do not conform to the DFSG and that
those works might include non-free firmware bits. For the time being, we
have added to the “non-free” area of our archives alternative installation
images and additional packages for Debian Squeeze, that include non-free
firmware bits needed to enable specific pieces of hardware. They are not
part of Debian, they should be looked for explicitly by interested users,
and we cannot support them to the same extent of Free firmware as we do not
have access to the corresponding source code. We encourage hardware
manufacturers to release only DFSG-free firmware and we cannot accept other
kind of firmware as part of Debian.
The Debian Project was founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock to be a truly
free, community project. Since then the project has grown to be one of
the largest and most influential open source projects. Over three
thousand volunteers from all over the world work together to create and
maintain Debian software. Translated into over 65 languages, and
supporting a huge range of computer types, Debian calls itself the
“universal operating system”.
For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at
http://www.debian.org/ or send mail to