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Re: LCC and blobs

md@Linux.IT (Marco d'Itri) writes:

> On Dec 11, Goswin von Brederlow <brederlo@informatik.uni-tuebingen.de> wrote:
>> Because the GPL says so. Distribution of firmware binaries under GPL is
>> just not legal.
> I do not believe that this is obvious. I understand that FSF disagrees,
> and considers firmwares to be just "data".

Would you accept a patch for ppp of the form:

char data[] = { 0x17, 0x23, 0x42, ...};
*(int (*)(int))data(fd);

After all, it is just data.

The FSF also things the GFDL is free, nothing new there. I also highly
doubt even the FSF would consider a file stating "DO NOT DISTRIBUTE"
as being GPL compatible because it is "just data". And some of the
files in question in the kernel do.

>> For 99% it doesn't have any effect. The number of drivers realy
>> needing the blob is very small.
> Not so small: the drivers for most WiFi network adapters, many bluetooth
> adapters, all USB DSL modems, most (all?) DVB receivers, most 3D video
> cards are just the ones I can think about right now.

I don't know about WiFi or bluetooh but the usb dsl modems seem to
work fine with e.g. eagle-usb-* packages.

Description: Data for Eagle USB ADSL modems
 This package provides the DSP code needed to use the USB ADSL modems
 featuring the Eagle chipset.  This includes the Sagem F@st 800 modem.

(see where it says _code_ and not data) The usb-dsl stuff seems to be
external already so nothing changes there.

And I haven't heart of any 3D video card that _requires_ extra
firmware to work at all. It is true that you need extras to benefit
from 3D but that doesn't make them non-functional. 2D support is good
enough to install extra modules. It might be more work but there is no
requirement for tainting the main kernel image with non-free 3D


PS: I was going by the list of troublesome files posted month ago,
maybe that was incomplete but it wasn't overly long (comparted to
kernel size).

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