On Thu, 2008-10-23 at 15:51 -0400, Lennart Sorensen wrote: > On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 04:50:23PM -0500, William Pitcock wrote: > > In the kernel itself, yes. Provided that: > > > > * the kernel framework for loading firmware is used for drivers > > depending on non-free firmware, and > > * that firmware is available in non-free via firmware-nonfree > > What if the firmware has a license on it that doesn't permit > redistribution in non-free? Then what? Then we must not distribute it. However, it appears that in most cases where the licence for firmware does not permit redistribution (e.g. GPLv2, where we cannot satisfy clause 3) this is a mistake and the copyright holder did intend to allow redistribution. [...] > > For hardware where this is an unacceptable solution, rewriting the > > driver to not use the firmware may still be possible. > > Sometimes. Certainly some hardware doesn't do anything without its > firmware. Perhaps alternate firmware could be written, although often > there isn't any documentation around to do that. In many cases firmware runs on an embedded microcontroller which implements a well-known architecture (e.g. 8051 or MIPS), which provides a starting point for reverse-engineering the code. Working out the programming model could be a long job though, depending on just how much functionality is dependent on the firmware. Ben.
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