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

Re: Firmware files - GPL compliant?

#include <hallo.h>
Walter Landry wrote on Mon Sep 24, 2001 um 10:44:03AM:

> > But how does this comply with the GPL? As far as I can see, the kernel
> > guys have been doing this for a while (see below) and the kernel is
> > still GPLed.
> This was a point of some contention a few months ago.  Look at the
> discussions in April on debian-legal under
>   Copyright infringement in linux/drivers/usb/serial/keyspan*fw.h

I did. But in this case, there are no heavy restrictions. The data file
itself is under the GPL as a source file.

> > The files Root and Dpram are distributed with the source package. Even if
> > they contain binary code, it cannot be executed as part of any other GPLed
> > code. GPL covers these files as prepared data accompanying the GPL program.
> > Their content is to be treated as source code. You may use, distribute and
> > modify it UNDER THE TERMS OF GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE. Contact 'convergence
> > integrated media GmbH' <http://www.convergence.de> for any further questions
> > about the creation of these files.
> the phrase "it cannot be executed as part of any other GPLed code"
> certainly makes it GPL incompatible.  This means we can't distribute

That is a bit irritating. That means not "you are not allowed to
execute", that means "the code cannot run on the host machine". It is
only copied into the hardware part.

> There is also the question about whether the firmware is in the
> "preferred form for modification", as required by the GPL.  You may
> want to contact the copyright holders to ask what is their preferred

That is a good question. If the files are "source code", someone is
allowed to modify them by editing that hex code. I asked the copyright
holders about that issue and got still no answer. OTOH the package has
been distributed on the net for a long while with the GPL license, so
they cannot just revert the copyright change.

"NT ist auch ein UNIX - es ist ja schließlich in C geschrieben."
                                        -- Compaq Techsupport Hotline

Reply to: