Re: Bug#239952: kernel-source-2.6.4: qla2xxx contains non-free firmware
Andreas Barth wrote:
> * Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS (email@example.com) [040325 12:55]:
>>Don Armstrong <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
>>>It seems rather clear that those "source" files are just machine code
>>>for the device firmware, and as such, are not the prefered form for
>>Agreed. So the files are not DFSG-free.
> Since when does the DFSG require "prefered form for modification"?
> Only one of the well-known licenses say that _this_ _license_ requires
> the prefered form as source-code. None of the other licenses say this,
> and the DFSG also don't require this.
While the DFSG says nothing about "preferred form for modification", it
does require source code, and distinguishes between source and compiled
forms. From this, it seems clear that a compiled binary (whether an
actual binary or one in the guise of an array of hex data in a C file)
is not acceptable as source code.
Furthermore, while many people choose to argue about how far the GPL
extends, I believe almost everyone agrees that statically linking two
components together into a single binary forms a derived work of both.
> The question is: Are the source files the only existing form of the
> code (then they _are_ the source code), or are they just a result of a
> compiler run, and nobody will edit them (then they're not).
It seems highly unlikely that QLogic writes their firmware by manually
entering hex values into a C source file, so I would suspect that they
are the result of a compiler run.
Since there are many drivers in the kernel with firmware whose source
_is_ provided (including the necessary scripts and compilers to build
it), it might be worth asking the driver developers to ask QLogic about
releasing the source (since they would have an existing relationship
with the company, and would therefore be in a better position to ask
than a Debian Developer). In the meantime, the firmware should be
removed. If the rest of the QLogic driver is not usable without this
firmware, it should be removed as well.
- Josh Triplett