Re: non-free firmware
Sven Luther wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 08, 2006 at 11:52:20AM +0100, Andreas Barth wrote:
>> * Sven Luther (firstname.lastname@example.org) [060108 11:12]:
>> > There where two fully independent issues here :
>> > 1) some (many) of those firmware using modules had a sloppy licencing
>> > situation, which meant the compiled kernels where indeed
>> > non-distributable.
>> > 2) those firmware blurbs come without source, and are thus non-free.
>> > We where working to solve 1), since without that, it was not even
>> > possible to distribute these non-free firmwares from even non-free. I
>> > think once this is solved the plan was to :
>> > 1) either make those drivers be able to load the firmware from an
>> > external file, which we could then include in the initramfs from a
>> > non-free source.
For instance, now that the tg3 firmware is under a distributable license,
with my tg3 patch reinstituted the firmware for specialized tg3 cards would
simply be three files which go in a specific place in the directory tree
and are picked up by hotplug/udev.
>> > 2) remove those drivers entirely from the main linux-2.6, and have
>> > them distributed from the linux-nonfree-2.6 package from our non-free
>> > section.
>> This matches with what I remember.
>> Well, there might be cases where the binary blob is enough, but I think
>> we agree that
>> a) this is probably the exception and not the rule, and
>> b) this requires a case-per-case-inspection.
> And how exactly can you guarantee this is the case without being the guy
> who wrote the code, and even so, how could we be sure to thrust such a guy
> claiming that it is the ultimate source code ?
I'm willing to accept a claim from the guy who wrote the code. However, as
a debian-legal regular, I can honestly say that that situation has not come
up even *once* yet.
> The main problem is one of ressources, and we need a single person who can
> devote time and effort to follow up on all those drivers, and see if the
> firmware can be removed from them or not. Right now everyone is focused
> on other stuff.
I volunteer. But I need to know that the debian-kernel team iss willing to
*accept* my volunteering. That means being willing to revive the
fully functional tg3 firmware loading patch which was already included in
earlier driver versions.
Now that the tg3 firmware is under a distributable license, I can package it
for non-free, no problem.
>> > I suppose the right way to solve this (doing 1) is another matter and
>> > more of the area of upstream work than debian work, it is the better
>> > solution though, not sure if it would be ready for the etch timeframe
>> > though.
>> The question of sloppy licenses is indeed an upstream issue - however,
>> that doesn't mean we can shut our eyes when we come over such an issue.
>> The DFSG-freeness is our own issue.
> Nope, upstream didn't care about sloppy licence, the upstream issue is to
> have the firmware removed from the driver and provide infrastructure to
> load it from initramfs.
> But the real problem is we are all volunteers, and if nobody has the will
> to work on this, what can you do ?
I do have the will!
> And if those more likely to work on
> this are not convinced by the non-freeness or do not care ...
Or if those who do have the will to work on it find themselves obstructed by
those who don't.... :-(