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Re: Bug#239952: kernel-source-2.6.4: qla2xxx contains non-free fi rmware

Humberto Massa wrote:

> Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
>> Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com>:
>>> 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 modification.
>> Agreed. So the files are not DFSG-free.
> This is not clear to me, for reasons I explain below...

> this is not a GPL problem. it's a DFSG§2 problem if and only if
> someone can prove the copyright owner did not programmed it in hex
> codes directly and uses this form as preffered form of modification;
> otherwise, we should consider the { 0x23, 0x34, ... } as the source
> code and it's not a DFSG§2 problem.
I'm assuming that the opinion of the copyright holder, being the licensor,
is governing here.  If the copyright holder comes out and says explicitly,
"Yes, it really *is* the preferred form for modification," then we have no
problem.  If they say, "no, it isn't," then we can't distribute it (the GPL
is the only license to distribute, and we don't have the preferred form for

Otherwise, we have a sort of burden-of-proof issue.  I think if most people,
looking at, go "that's not the preferred form for modification", then we
should assume that it isn't, until we get clarification.  You're assuming
that by distributing it, the copyright holder is *implying* that it's the
preferred form for modification.  I think my interpretation is safer.  :-)

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