[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: DFSG violations: non-free but no contrib

On Mon, Nov 03, 2008, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> >  Consider SSL certificates for e.g. Verisign.  It makes no sense to
> >  change them and we don't have the ultimate source for them.  These are
> >  generated data files for which we have the tools to build them, but not
> >  the ultimate source data (private key).  And if we had the private key,
> >  they would be worthless.  These are effectively static data enabling
> >  SSL communications with sites using these SSL certs providers.
> Since SSL certificates are randomly generated data, they are not subject
> to copyright law, so I don’t think they are in any grey area. We can
> change them without any licensing issue, it’s just that they won’t
> fulfill their job if we do.

 I'm not arguing about their copyright(-ability): just that we can't
 usefully modify them; and still, the private key is the source to
 create the certificate (even if it's random data), and we don't have it
 in main.  The same goes with firmware: we might have the right to
 distribute modified binary firmwares, and they are sufficiently useful
 as they are, even without accompanying ultimate source.  Their form is
 sufficient for a free OS, not for free hardware though; just like
 certificates are sufficient for a free OS, not for an open
 certification chain.

> >  Firmwares can be considered somewhat the same: static data enabling the
> >  use of your hardware.  You can perhaps change them.  Perhaps we have
> >  the tools to change them.  Perhaps we can change them usefully.  But
> >  they are useful as such and we don't need to fight for their freedom as
> >  we fight for the freedom of the main OS.
> Firmware images are very different. They are binary code, only code not
> meant for execution on the host CPU. They are similar to non-free data
> for games: stuff that we cannot modify and with which we can live
> without modifying, but it would be useful to be able to, and it is
> impossible to distribute it in main.

 The non-free games data I know of is non-free because we may not modify
 it because the license doesn't explicitely allow it; what specific
 example did you have in mind?  This is IMO different from firmware
 binaries which we may well be allowed to change, but don't have the
 tools/doc to do so.

Loïc Minier

Reply to: