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Re: Binary-only firmware covered by the GPL?

Oh, man, it seems that I *must* repeat myself one more time, at least
to see if I'm not in everyone's killfile :-)

@ 30/03/2004 11:19 : wrote Pavel Machek :


#include <hallo.h> * David Schwartz [Thu, Mar 25 2004,
IMHO code that can be compiled would probably be the
preferred form of the work.
You are seriously arguing that the obfuscated binary of the firmware is the preferred form of the firmware for the
purpose of making modifications to it?!
I don't know if that's what /he/ is arguing, but *I* am arguing that in the cases I've seen here and in debian-legal, we have the following circumstances (the qla2xxx/ql2100_fw.c canonical example): * the file in question (and its brothers and cousins) have the following structure IIRC:
	+ GPL license comment-header
	+ some includes?
	+ the firmware in c-blob format or unsigned char fw[] = ....
	+ nothing else.
* as the file is clearly marked by the copyright holder as being _distributed under the terms of the GPL_ and no other format is given to modify the fw[], at least *legally* is MHO that any recipient/redistributor of the file _can_ and _must_ consider the file in *that* format as the preferred form for modification (pf4m) *and*, considering it the source code, follow the directions of the GPL in respect to modification and redistribution. * the /status quo/ obtained by observation of the previous item prevails _until somebody proves_ that the fw[] = {} is *not* the source code; this, usually, can be proven only by confession, i.e., the original copyright holder *comes out and says:* "hmmm, this is not the source code". Notice that the copyright holder maintaining silence is _not_ confession. * in this case (copyright holder confesses it's not the source code) applied to the examples in casu, i.e., firmware, the kernel people cannot distribute the binary blob *inside the kernel tree*, but can do it separately _if the copyright holder grants a license_ to.
* even so, Debian could not distribute it.

Yes, the driver authors PREFERS to make the changes on the C
source code, he never has to modify the firmware. Exactly what
the GPL requests, where is your problem?

But the firmware didn't appear out of thin air - someone wrote it
 somehow. If that's using a hex editor or inside the C code
doesn't matter, but most likely they used some other language
like either C or assembly (no, not all firmware is written using
assembly), and there are cases where some are in fact written
using a hex editor but I can't remember any that has been for the
last 30 or so years but I'm sure there has been cases where there
hasn't been a working assembler.

But there are cases, even if you don't know of them. And this is the case that has to be taken in account when we start *presuming* things, at least legally, IMHO.
If my code contains picture of human, do I have to provide his DNA,
too? Pavel

(runs away)

best regards,M

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