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Re: Bug#221709: ITP: at76c503a-source -- at76c503a driver source

On Wed, Nov 19, 2003 at 08:00:48PM +0000, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Scripsit Oliver Kurth <okurth@gmx.net>
> > But you do not seem to see my point: the human readable sources of the
> > firmware files are _not_ open. The hex files, ie. the compiled form,
> > in ACSII format they say _are_ GPL'ed (despite the disclaimer in those
> > files, see above).
> What you're missing is that if one applies the GPL is applied to
> compiled code alone, it does not give any permission to distribute
> at all. GPL allows compiled code to be distributed only if it is
> accompanied with source, which these firmware files are not according
> to the GPL's own definition. So in this context GPL is equivalent to
> "no permission to distribute".
> That may not be a problem for the original author (who, owning the
> copyright, can permit himself to distribute no matter what the license
> he offers to others say), but it is certainly a problem for Debian.
> Sourceless GPLed code cannot be distributed even in non-free.

Sigh. So if Atmel says these files are no longer GPL'ed, but are
just freely distributable, it could at least go to non-free? Sounds
ridiculous. (Law is too complicated to me, so I stick to programming
;-) )

Is there any way to get this into main, maybe regarding the fact
that this code is not run on the host but just on the device? I think
Atmel would be open to change the license, but I do not think they will
give the source to their holy (and btw buggy) firmware.

Also CC'ing deebian-legal.


 : :' :    Oliver Kurth oku@debian.org
 `. `'           Debian GNU/Linux maintainer - www.debian.org
When sending passwords, please use my gpg key. That's what it's good for.

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