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Re: please release sarge instead of removing binary firmware

José Luis Tallón wrote:

> Sorry, i know i'm about to get flamed probably but....
Nah, you'll just get the same explanations that have been repeated 300
times, since you're asking the same questions.  :-)

> - Upstream authors have put their drivers in Linux, under the GPL
Supposedly.  However, integrating them into other GPL-ed code has aroused
the irritation of some of the authors of the other GPLed code in Linux, who
feel that *their* GPL license is being violated by shipping a derivative
work without source.  Accordingly, even if we believe that the binary-only
blobs are under a legitimate license (and it's arguable whether they are),
integrating them into Linux is dangerous.

Anyway, this only applies to binaries which were actually contributed by the
upstream authors and put under the GPL.  Already, others have been
found.  :-P

> - The preferred distribution form of several of such BLOBs is really
> binary (we are speaking of machine code, nonetheless)
The preferred distribution form for *everything* is binary.  Otherwise
Debian would be Gentoo.  ;-)  The preferred form for *modification* is

> - Everybody else is using them
*cough* I suspect "everybody else" doesn't give a damn.  "Everyone else"
distributed mplayer.

> ...so, are we really infringing the GPL?
> If that is the case, it really belongs in Upstream to get these problems
> sorted. We should probably just offer as much help as possible....
Yes.  Upstream may or may not appreciate help, of course; a lot of people
seem to enjoy living in ignorance of the legalities.

> ... and try to get Sarge released ! :)
> [snip]
>>If folks believe the above legal reasoning is implausible or incorrect,
>>the easiest way to convince me otherwise is to get Eben Moglen or someone
>>similar who both knows the law, and understands the GPL to say otherwise.
> I don't know if debian-legal have been consulted (have they?), but i
> certainly think it is them who are most capable of properly addressing
> this issue.

Debian-legal has, as usual, taken the most conservative stance, assuming
that things are *not* distributable unless it's clear that they are.  But
debian-legal is almost entirely not lawyers.  An opinion from a lawyer who
understands the GPL would probably be accepted by debian-legal over their
own opinions.

Make sure your vote will count.

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