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Re: Bug#396648: ITP: rt73 -- Linux device driver for Ralink RT73 a/b/g WLAN Card

Piotr Roszatycki wrote:
> The driver loads firmware from separate file and has included
> the blob with the default firmware if separate file is not available.
> I think the driver can go to contrib with removed the blob from its sources


> and with the firmware rt73.bin file can go to non-free as rt73-firmware package.
> The rt73.bin file is marked as GPL. There is no real source code included but
> this license implies that it is redistributable file at least as non-free.

No.  Distribution of a GPLed binary requires provision of the "preferred form
for modification"; if Debian does not have that, Debian cannot distribute the
firmware at all.

Also, does the binary have an explicit GPL license attached (some file
specifically says that the firmware falls under the GPL, and/or the version in
the driver source has a GPL header above the firmware binary), or does it just
reside in the driver next to all the GPLed source and a copy of the GPL?  If
the latter, it may not actually fall under the GPL, and you should request a
specific license for it.  (Whether or not upstream intended it as GPLed does
not affect distributability, but it does affect how you approach upstream; in
one case you just need to ask about a license for the firmware, and in the
other case you need to explain the issues about GPLing a binary.  Also, as
usual, throwing in a request for the source as a lark couldn't hurt; worst
case, they say no, no harm done.)

One other question: do all variants of this device require firmware from the
driver, or only some of them?  (Just asking because several other ralink cards,
such as rt2500, do not seem to require the driver to supply firmware.)  If
some variants of the device will work without supplied firmware, then the
driver can go to main, regardless of where or if the firmware gets distributed.

- Josh Triplett

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