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Re: Release team position on the state of kernel firmware, post GR2006-007

On Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 04:35:07PM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> With the conclusion of GR 2006-007[1], we now have a clear statement from the
> Debian developers that it is acceptable to release etch with firmware that
> does not meet our usual requirements for inclusion in main, subject to three
> principal conditions:
>   1. the freedom of the kernel for etch will not be a regression relative to
>      sarge
>   2. the firmware needs to be in main to support installation of Debian on
>      certain hardware
>   3. the license of the firmware complies with the DFSG's requirements for
>      licenses, even though there may be no source code available for the work
>      and therefore the work does not meet the DFSG as a whole.
> At the time the GR was proposed and seconded, it was generally believed that
> this was sufficient to cover all firmware that needed to be shipped in main
> for the installer's benefit, because all firmware that was relevant under 2.
> was also allowed under 3.  Unfortunately, discussion revealed that this was 
> not the case.

You are missing two clear points here, this was not the intention of Manoj,
has he stated multiple times, the tg3 license got changed about a year ago,
and the kernel team position statement was clear about this, and pre-dated the
vote on the GR, i also often and loudly warned about these problems in the
resolution, since it was first proposed by Manoj.

I don't recognize this statement as true, and believe that there is at least a
part of the voters which where not deluded by the wordings of the actual
resolution proposal and voted what the text actually says.

So, saying that you are going to interpret the vote and the resulting GRs, as
you believe the voters intented to vote, and in complete contradiction with
the actual content of voted upon resolution is not a good idea. I would much
have preferd a staigthforward answer ("we are going to release tg3 in direct
opposition with the resolution, because it is within our RMs power to do so").

> tg3, typhoon, and acenic firmware
> ---------------------------------
> As mentioned above, it was discovered late in the process that three firmware
> images included in the upstream kernel that are relevant to the installer are
> not distributed under clearly DFSG-compliant licenses: tg3, typhoon, and
> acenic.  Of these, only typhoon was in sarge; tg3 and acenic had been removed
> from the kernel and have since been readded.

What a joke, we all knew that from the start, at least those of us who
bothered to check, and who where not believing all i said was just uninformed

> The license on acenic is unclear.  The upstream website does grant permission
> to modify and distribute the firmware, and we have a separate statement that
> permission was granted to distribute it "as part of the GPL driver."  At the
> same time, the upstream website also appears to place restrictions on use.
> We do not believe that use restrictions are compatible with the spirit of the
> GR that was passed, and we understand that an upstream license fix is
> unlikely; and re-adding this firmware is a regression relative to sarge.  We
> recommend that the kernel team remove this firmware again for etch, but we
> choose not to consider this RC.
> The tg3 firmware was previously made available as a sourceless blob under the
> GPL, which would be covered by the previous section above.  More recently, it

Most recently = almost a year ago ? 

> has been distributed in the kernel under a license permitting redistribution
> without permitting modification.  While this is not explicitly permitted in
> main by the GR that was passed, the release managers are confident that
> including this firmware in main *would* be permitted by the developers if
> asked, and therefore believe this firmware should be included in the kernel
> for etch without any need for an additional, time-consuming GR.  It is also
> possible that the previous GPL grant is still in effect in addition to the
> new clarified license, and we do not believe this question is of sufficient
> importance to require further investigation prior to etch.

No, because the new code says : 

   * Firmware is:
   *      Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,
   *      Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Broadcom Corporation.
   *      Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware
   *      data in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright
   *      notice is accompanying it.

Notice how clearly it states that there is *SOURCE CODE*, and thus the
previous license, which is GPL, is violated, and you can't possible close your
eyes on this one, claiming that the hexcode may be the prefered form of

As for "Another time consuming GR", if someone had not gone off and suddenly
called for vote in a hasty way, we would not be in this mess.

> The typhoon firmware is the last installer-relevant driver that we are
> allowed to distribute which is not made available under a license that
> permits modification.  This firmware was included in sarge, so including it
> in etch is not a regression; and we again believe that the developers would
> have voted to allow this in main for etch if we had known soon enough that

Yeah, right, another case of interpreting the voter's intent in direct
opposition of what the resolution actually said.

Sven Luther

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