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Re: Bug#239952: kernel-source-2.6.4: qla2xxx contains non-free firmware

On Thu, Mar 25, 2004 at 07:29:49PM +1100, Herbert Xu wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 25, 2004 at 01:45:22AM +0100, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> > Package: kernel-source-2.6.4
> > Severity: grave
> > 
> > It seems the following files of the qla2xxx driver contain non-free
> > firmware:
> > ./drivers/scsi/qla2xxx/ql2100_fw.c
> > ./drivers/scsi/qla2xxx/ql6322_fw.c
> > ./drivers/scsi/qla2xxx/ql2300_fw.c
> > ./drivers/scsi/qla2xxx/ql2200_fw.c
> > ./drivers/scsi/qla2xxx/ql6312_fw.c
> > ./drivers/scsi/qla2xxx/ql2322_fw.c
> I presume you're objecting to these firmware on the basis that they
> are being distributed as machine code.
> I personally find this attitude to be extreme.  However, I have in
> the past removed a number of drivers for exactly this reason at the
> request of other developers.
> I would like the opinion of all Debian developers on the general issue
> of firmware in the kernel-source package.
> If we do decide to remove them, then we can remove quite a number of
> other drivers for the same reason, I can think of qlogicisp and tg3
> off the top of my head.
> I recall that when this issue was first raised with the keyspan drivers,
> some of the people advocating their removal promised to modify the
> drivers so that the firmware could be loaded from userspace (just like how
> the anti-non-free camp promised to host non-free packages), it appears
> that after three years this support still has not materialised.
> Perhaps the easiest solution is to move all kernel packages into non-free.
> PS I'm deliberately avoiding debian-legal as the inhabitants there tend
> to have views that are not necessarily representative of the project
> as a whole.

For this "binary firmware is not preferred form of source" issue to be
resolved coherently all sources that include binary firmware and all
drivers that include undocumented magic numbers and strings must be
removed since of course undocumented magic numbers and strings are not
preferred form of source either! Hence all or at a least a large amount
of reverse engineered drivers would need to be removed at minimum,
besides the drivers vendors provide with binary firmware. I know the
driver I wrote for the linux kernel uses magic strings which might be
firmware, I don't know, and so its certainly not the preferred form of
source. The company making the product never provided documentation on
the device at all nevermind the source for the supposed firmware.


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