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Re: final licence question.

On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 12:15:42PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:

> I am about to send upstream my latest advice on the licence issues i
> discussed here previously, and have one last question.

> To recapitulate, upstream is packaging a pci adsl modem driver, which
> use a software library to do the ADSL decoding. They don't have the
> source to this library themselves.

> They plan to release it under the GPL or something such, and i suggested
> adding an exception for the proprietary code, as found on the FSF FAQ :

>     In addition, as a special exception, <name of copyright
>     holder> gives permission to link the code of this program with
>     the FOO library (or with modified versions of FOO that use the
>     same license as FOO), and distribute linked combinations including
>     the two.  You must obey the GNU General Public License in all
>     respects for all of the code used other than FOO.  If you modify
>     this file, you may extend this exception to your version of the
>     file, but you are not obligated to do so.  If you do not wish to
>     do so, delete this exception statement from your version.

> Would this be enough for the driver in question to enter
> debian/non-free, in particular, this allow me to distribute the
> binaries, of the linked combination of the GPLed part and the
> proprietary part, but does this cover me/us/debian about distributing
> the proprietary .o in the source package, as this is a standard debian
> kernel-module-source package ?

If their code is GPL with an exemption, and the library they use is
non-free and we can legally redistribute it, and the two pieces of code
will be distributed together, this can be uploaded to non-free.  Note
that being able to redistribute the non-free code depends on *its*
license, not on the license of the module being built with it.

If the GPL code will be packaged separately from the software library,
the GPL code belongs in contrib and the binary-only library belongs in
non-free (if it can be distributed at all).

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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