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Re: Binary-only firmware covered by the GPL?

J.D. Hood wrote:

> I wrote:
> That is the "IBM is being silly" interpretation.  I don't think that IBM
> is being silly.  I think IBM doesn't intend 'preferred form for
> modification' to include forms of the code that it doesn't publish.
> BTW I have written to IBM a couple of times asking for clarification but
> I have never received any reply.
I think this is evidence that IBM is being silly.  ;-)

> For the reasons given above, though, I don't think it is essential to
> get a clarification.
> I understand the line of reasoning which leads to the conclusion that IBM
> has published the mwave firmware under a license that in fact forbids
> redistribution.  But I hope you will still grant that the clear intent
> of IBM was to allow free distribution of the firmware binary.
Yes.  I've just gotten very.... cautious.  Maybe Debian should have some
official policy about how cautious and lawsuit-averse it is.  :-)

>  It would
> be totally absurd of IBM to publish the firmware on its website, to
> declare it to be licensed under the GPL, and then to turn around and
> say that IBM interprets 'preferred form for modification' in such a way
> that redistribution is prohibited.  If we are right in regarding that as
> absurd then we are right in treating IBM's license as a license to
> redistribute.
> My main qualm right now is that I know absurdity is in the eye of the
> beholder. --
Yeah, we've seen copyright holders do absurd things before, so I generally
don't assume that they haven't done absurd things.  :-P  Perhaps I *should*
assume that they haven't?  It just makes me... uncomfortable.

> Thomas Hood

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