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Re: please release sarge instead of removing binary firmware

Allan Wind wrote:

> On 2004-04-14T14:43:14-0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
>> 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.
> It was determine that drivers with questionable licenses were being
> distributed as part of the linux source code (what 2-3 years for tg3?).
> They were subsequently removed from new versions but the drivers remain
> in old versions.
> This either leaves end-users standed on old versions or forced to use
> upstream code.  Is this really the rhgt message for end-users?  Are
> there any plans to add these to control or non-free (and why could that
> not have been done prior to breaking the upgrade path)?
Perhaps because apparently nobody with the affected hardware was willing to
do the work to move the code.  And it's quite hard to test any change
without the hardware.

> Broadcom (and others) probably want their drivers distributed by Debian,
> so they can sell their products.
> If the above sounds about right, then perhaps someone representing
> Debian could contact the relevant vendors to make them aware of the
> problem and request a resolution that is acceptable to Debian?
> I am just an end-user, but I will contact 3com to tell them that their
> nic 3c996 is no longer supported by Debian due to license concerns of
> the Broadcom (tg3) drivers.

There's a particular weirdness in the tg3 drivers; it appears that only some
of the tg3 cards actually needed the firmware downloads.  But apparently
nobody considered only providing support for the cards which didn't?  :-O 
That's a truly easy patch, just replacing the firmware loading bits with

I looked into converting the 2.6 version to userland firmware loading.  It
seems entirely possible (although the driver design makes it more painful
than most conversions).  I can't test it, though, without the hardware,

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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